Tag Archives: Domonic Brown

Phillies Need to Face the Reality of Rebuilding

1 Oct

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Cole Hamels had a career best 2.46 ERA, but didn't get enough run support in 2014. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Cole Hamels had a career best 2.46 ERA, but didn’t get enough run support in 2014. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—During the early part of the 2014 season, the Phillies left you with the impression that they could just have timely hitting, good defense and good pitching on a consistent basis, they were close to being a contender in the National League East.

It was something General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. believed and it was something manager Ryne Sandberg talked about even after nights when the Phillies offense came up short or the starting pitching put them in a deep hole from which they could not recover.

That was not only wishful thinking on part of Amaro and Sandberg, it was downright delusional.

Instead, the Phillies did what bad teams usually do, play well in one aspect of their game and suck in some other part. That was the most consistent aspect of the Phillies in 2014 and it resulted in the team’s last place finish (73-89) in the NL East.

To be honest, this season was doomed from the start, going back to the off-season when the most significant free agents signings were aging, over 30-something veterans like pitcher A.J. Burnett and outfielder Marlon Byrd.

While the latter actually had a decent season, the former pitched like the 37-year-old man he was during the season.

Burnett won just two games after the All-Star break and finished the season 8-18 with a 4.59 earned run average. The team also didn’t have left-handed starter Cliff Lee, who finished his season on the disabled list, for most of the season.

Right-handed starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (now a free agent) was hot and cold, often struggling to get out of the first inning.

The only bright spots for the Phillies in 2014 were Cole Hamels, who got little help from his offense, and the young bullpen. Hamels had a career best 2.46 ERA, but finished 9-9 and often lacked run support. He also had a no-hitter he shared with two other pitchers.

The Phils offense was a constant problem all year outside of Byrd, who led the team in home runs and lead-off hitter Ben Revere, who batted .307 and tied for the National League lead in hits.

Unfortunately, Amaro’s resurgence of the “Wheez Kids” was a monumental failure and it’s painfully obvious that change has to come, especially on offense.

That means that it’s time for the Phillies to come to the realization that Amaro has been avoiding for a long time—it’s time to say a fond farewell to the now 30-something guys who won the 2008 World Series whose best days are collectively behind them.

Ryan Howard struggles hurt the Phillies offense in 2014. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Ryan Howard struggles hurt the Phillies offense in 2014. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Of course, the hardest player for the Phillies to move will be first baseman Ryan Howard, who will be 35 in 2015, because the team still owes him $60 million. No one around baseball wants to take on that salary.

Howard is coming off a season where he batted just .223 with 23 homeruns and 95 runs batted in with a league-leading 190 strikeouts. It was the first time since 2011 that Howard has played more than 150 games in a season.

After struggling through a myriad of leg injuries over the last couple of years, it was an accomplishment for Howard to finish the season. While those injuries are fully healed, I don’t think Howard was ever 100 percent back to himself from a baseball perspective.

That said, I think a change of scenery to an American League team where he can be a designated hitter might do him some good and even bring about resurgence in his career.

Meanwhile, shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley have no-trade clauses in their contract. Rollins, the Phillies all-time leader in hits, told reporters back in June that he would be open to a trade if the team goes into complete rebuilding mode.

Guess what? That time is here.

Utley, who struggled in the second half of the season, should consider waiving his no-trade clause as well because it’s going to be a long time before this team is a contender again. I don’t know if Utley will like playing for a young, rebuilding team.

Out of the Phillies younger players that have come out of their system in the last year or so, third baseman Cody Asche was the only one who solidified a starting spot next year in the Phils starting lineup. There’s also talk that prospect Maikel Franco could be on the roster next year.

The Phillies will likely part ways with Domonic Brown, who had an awful season and regressed as a hitter. He batted .235 with just 10 home runs, 63 runs batted in and an on-base percentage of .285. In 2013, Brown had a .272 average with 27 homers, 83 RBI, and a .324 on-base percentage.

The Phillies will have a solid bullpen next year with a solid corps of young arms led by hard-throwing righthander Ken Giles, who will be the team’s next closer if they can’t find a suitor for Jonathan Papelbon, who served a seven-game suspension near the end of the season for an obscene gesture. He saved 39 of 43 games in 2014.

Giles, whose fast ball was clocked at 100 miles per hour, had a 1.18 earned run average in 44 games and had a 3-1 record with one save.

Amaro himself is on the clock in 2015—the final year of his contract. He has to figure out a way to get this ship going in the right direction for next year and beyond.

If he doesn’t, Amaro will be given his walking papers the same way former assistant general manager for amateur scouting Marti Worlever got his near the end of the 2014 season.

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Utley’s Walk-Off Homer Backs Up Stellar Effort by Phillies Bullpen

27 Jun

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

 

Chase Utley went 3-for-7 Thursday with three RBI including a two-run walk homer in win over the Miami Marlins.

Chase Utley went 3-for-7 Thursday with three RBI including a two-run walk homer in win over the Miami Marlins.

PHILADELPHIA – Perhaps the most frustrating thing for Phillies fans is watching the offense struggle to score runs, especially when their pitchers—both starters and relievers– are doing all they can to keep the team in the game.

It took the Phils offense 14 innings to finally put the game away on Chase Utley’s two-run walk-off home run to give the Phillies a 5-3 win over the Miami Marlins in front of 34, 168 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park.

But it was the effort of the bullpen—Jake Diekman, Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Ken Giles, Mario Hollands and winning pitcher Justin De Fratus—that kept the Phillies in the game.

“I think the bullpen is on a roll as a group,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “They’ve found their niche in the game. We’ve got situational guys and they’re feeding off each other. Competition within themselves and they’re just all doing the job.”

Like a hot hockey goalie, the Phillies bullpen stood on its collective head against the Marlins for seven innings and allowed no runs on three hits. They have not allowed an earned run in 24 of their last 25 innings. (They have 0.72 earned-run- average in nine games since June 17). Since June 3, the Phillies relievers have an ERA of 1.10.

“It’s a good thing to see and it just shows the hard work they’ve put in,” said Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels.

Meanwhile, it was Utley’s first walk-off homer for the Phillies since 2006 when he did it against the Houston Astros. The Phillies second baseman had been struggling and was 1-for-10 for the homestand coming into Thursday night’s game. Utley was 3-for-7 with three runs batted in against the Marlins.

Utley was in an 0-2 hole after taking an off-balance swing at a pitch. He made up for it on the next pitch by knocking the ball into the seats in right field.

“Especially after that swing in the dirt and so it was good to see him regroup and get a pitch he can really handle,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “He’s a grinder. Three RBI in the game, scrapped out a hit and the big shot at the end.”

With the exception of three solo homeruns to Giancarlo Stanton, Jarrod Satalamacchia and Marcell Ozuna, Hamels threw well enough to keep the Phillies in the game. He gave up six hits-three of which were not the long ball. He struck out seven with no walks in seven innings on the mound.

“It’s a situation when you get behind in the count, especially to all three of those hitters, they’re very good. They have power and when you make a mistake, they’re going to hit it a long way,” Hamels said. “When you don’t get ahead of hitters in general you put yourself in a bad situation.”

Hamels left the game in the top of the seventh down 3-2, but somehow his teammates got him off the hook for the loss when Domonic Brown scored from third when Marlins first baseman Jeff Baker mishandled a routine ground ball hit by shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who hustled down the line.

“Jimmy put the ball in play and hustling down to first base makes a difference there,” Sandberg said. “It was an open door and then we depended upon our bullpen and we used about all of it.”

The Marlins jumped on the scoreboard in their half of third when Satalamacchia belted a solo home run to the left field seats. Stanton homered in the fourth and Oduna hit one out in the seventh to give Miami a short-lived lead.

The Phillies scored their first two runs on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Ruiz that scored Utley. The Phils tied the game in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Utley that scored centerfielder Ben Revere.

 

Brown’s Fielding Miscue and Lack of Offense Doom Phillies in Loss to Miami

26 Jun

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Domonic Brown has been struggling at the plate and in the field. His misplay of a fly ball cost the Phillies in Wednesday's loss to the Miami Marlins. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Domonic Brown has been struggling at the plate and in the field. His misplay of a fly ball cost the Phillies in Wednesday’s loss to the Miami Marlins. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—It was one of those nights where the Phillies (35-42) could point to doing really well in couple of facets of their game, but found themselves faltering in others.

They got solid effort from their starting pitcher  and a solid effort from their bullpen. The usual suspects of not enough hitting and a bad mistake in the field sealed their doom in a 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins in front of 23, 360 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett didn’t have a bad night at all. He had eight strikeouts while allowing just five hits and three runs. But he had one bad inning that wasn’t exactly his fault.

With two on and two outs in the fourth inning, Miami leftfielder Marcel Ozuna hit should have been an easy fly ball to Domonic Brown in left. But the Phils outfielder over ran it and the ball ended up going to the left field wall to score Giancarlo Stanton from second.

That led Burnett giving up a two-run double to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead they had no business having in the first place.

To his credit, Brown didn’t hide from reporters in the training room or in the showers after the game, he took full responsibility for his blunder in the field.

“That’s a play I gotta make for my team,” Brown said. “That changed the whole game. I told A.J. I was sorry about it. But that play has to be made. It was a hard-hit line drive. I made a break in and that was definitely a big mistake. It was a low liner, I took a step in, but it was too late.”

Takeaway Brown’s blunder in the field, the Phillies might have come away with a 2-0 shutout, but that’s the maddening luck of a mediocre team that just can’t seem to get it together.

“If that ball’s caught right there, there’s no runs up on the board, it’s the third out,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “A .J had enough stuff to throw a shutout the rest of the game.”

Meanwhile in a solid display of backing up your teammate when stuff hits the fan, Burnett said there was no need for Brown to apologize to him. He said he should have gotten Saltalamacchia, who was 1-for-15 against him with nine strikeouts before that at-bat.

“I felt like I should have picked (Brown) up the next at bat. That’s what we do. You pick each other up,” Burnett said. “If the pitch is a little bit low to (Saltalamachhia) and you pick (Brown) up. He plays hard, he comes in everyday and prepares and goes about his business. It’s not like he’s trying to miss balls out there. Plays like that happen you gotta pick your teammates up.”

On the offensive side, the Phillies had their shots. In the second inning, they had men on second and third with just one out, but could not score. With the bases loaded and one out, the Phillies could only get a sacrifice fly from Chase Utley that scored Ben Revere.

An RBI single by Brown scoring Marlon Byrd in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Marlins lead to 3-2. That’s as close as they would come.

Miami starting right-handed pitcher Henderson Alvarez wasn’t necessarily the second-coming of Cy Young or Walter Johnson, but he did well enough to keep the Phillies bats at bay. He allowed just two runs (one earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts and a pair of walks.

 

Kendrick Solid After Rough Start in Phillies Sweep of San Diego

12 Jun

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Kendrick had a shaky start against the Padre, but recovered with a solid outing with five strikeouts on seven hits with one earned run.

Kendrick had a shaky start against the Padre, but recovered with a solid outing with five strikeouts on seven hits with one earned run.

PHILADELPHIA—One of the things that has killed Kyle Kendrick (2-6, 4.09) in his starts this season is his penchant for struggling in the early innings.
And so what does Kendrick do in Thursday’s game against the San Diego Padres?

Kendrick gave up two runs in the first inning. It came courtesy of an RBI double by Padres third baseman Chase Headley that scored Will Venable. An error by right fielder Marlon Byrd enabled left fielder Seth Smith to score from first to give San Diego a 2-0 lead.

After the first inning, Kendrick settled down and found his groove while keeping San Diego off the scoreboard for the rest of his outing. He also got some much needed run support from the offense to get his second win of the season.

“It was about getting ahead (in the count),” Kendrick said. “After that it was strike one and making quality pitches. I was down and getting some bad contact.”

Thanks to a huge day by John Mayberry Jr. and some clutch hitting by pinch hitter Reid Brignac, the Phillies came away with a 7-3 win to complete a three-game sweep of the Padres at Citizen’s Bank Park.

It was the Phils’ second series sweep of the season since doing it to the Miami Marlins back in April (11-13).

“After the first inning, we had some good starting pitching, our bullpen was good and we had some base-runners and some clutch hitting,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “It’s something that we want continue to do.

Starting off this homestand with the sweep can go a long way for us.”

The Phillies offense broke open a 2-2 game coming into the bottom of the sixth inning by scoring the game’s next five runs—at two-run RBI double by Brignac in the sixth off Padres reliever Dale Thayer and a three-homer by Mayberry in the bottom of the seventh.

Mayberry’s long drive sealed it for the Phillies while capping a huge day for him. He was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs batted in. Over his last 16 games, Mayberry is batting .412 (14-for-34) with five doubles, four home runs and 12 runs batted in.

“I think that my rhythm and timing have been a lot better and on top of that my pitch selection has been a lot better,” Mayberry said. “I think I have to allow them the opportunity to make a mistake and when they do you have to trust yourself that you’re going to put a good swing on it and hopefully the results will be there.”

Meanwhile, Brignac, who had a walk-off homer in Wednesday night’s game, once again came through in the clutch with a two-out pinch- hit double to put the Phillies on top for good. He said he was riding the moment from Wednesday night’s heroics.

“I definitely felt more comfortable at the plate today,” Brignac said. “It feels great in different situations and scenarios that come through for this team. For my teammates, it’s really a humbling feeling.”

In six innings on the mound, Kendrick allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts and no walks. He threw 105 pitches.

“He put zeroes up on the board and gave the offense a chance to score someruns and swing the bat,” Sandberg said.

After San Diego jumped out to its early lead, the Phillies cut the lead in half on an RBI single by shortstop Jimmy Rollins that scored Ben Revere, who doubled off San Diego starting pitcher Eric Stults to lead-off the inning. The Phillies tied the game in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Dom Brown that scored Marlon Byrd from third.

NOTES—Fire-balling rookie righthander made his Major League debut in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game with mixed results. Throwing pitches with speeds up to 100 miles per hour, Giles gave up a home run to Padres Yasmani Grandal, but then struck out with an 89-mile hour slider Alexi Amarista to end the game.
But while he’s enamored with his own velocity, Giles said his slider is most important pitch.

“If I get ahead in the count, it’s going to be a good wipe out pitch for me just to get it over with, shut ‘em on down and get them out early,” Giles said. “If I keep doing what I did today get ahead and throw that slider even if it’s in the dirt or for strikes, I’m going to do just fine.”

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is one hit away from tying Mike Schmidt’s career record for hits.

 

Brignac’s Walk-Off Homer Picks Up Brilliant Effort By Hamels

12 Jun

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Phillies Reid Brignac's walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth backed up a brilliant performance by Cole Hamels.

Phillies Reid Brignac’s walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth backed up a brilliant pitching performance by Cole Hamels.

PHILADELPHIA–For eight innings, it was looking like another brilliant outing for Cole Hamels was going by the wayside because of another anemic performance by the Phillies offense, which only had more than two runners on base in just one inning prior to the bottom of the ninth.

Hamels had another gem of a night on the mound for the Phillies. In eight innings, he allowed no runs on five hits with a season-high 11 strikeouts and just one walk while throwing 115 pitches. He also moved past Jim Bunning in sole possession of third place on the Phillies all-time strikeout list.

Thanks to Reid Brignac’s walk-off three-run homer to right field in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies came away with a 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres on a cool Wednesday night in front of 25,398 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park.

“(Hamels) was really sharp with his command, real good fast balls, changeups,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg.“He’s looking real good and he’s had some good starts for us. ”

While Brignac’s heroics at the plate was definitely important, it was the Phillies pitching that kept the Padres off the scoreboard for the entire game. Closer Jonathan Papelbon got the win in relief, but it was Hamels’ efforts that laid the foundation for this win.

Cole Hamels had a season-high 11 strikeouts in the win over San Diego.

Cole Hamels had a season-high 11 strikeouts in the win over San Diego.

“Cole pitched outstanding tonight and really kept us in the game all night and kept their hitters off balance,” said Brignac, whose last walk-off homer came while he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. “He was the true winner in this game.”

On a night when the Phillies three, four, and five hitters—Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd went a combined 1-for-10—it was the guys near the bottom of the order that got things going in the bottom of the ninth. First, left fielder Domonic Brown got a one-out walk off reliever Nick Vincent, who then hit Carlos Ruiz to put him on first.

With runners on first and second, Brignac then crushed a 2-0 cut fastball into the right field seats to put the game into the win column for a Phillies team that needs to put together a string of wins if they have any hope of getting back into playoff contention.

“It’s all about the team winning,” Hamels said. “No matter who gets the “W” next to their name as long as it’s next to the team, it’s everybody’s. We’re trying to claw tooth and nail to get back to where our potential is and where we feel we need to be to competitive. The opportunities are here we need to take it.”

In the fourth inning, things got a little tough for Hamels when the Padres loaded the bases with two outs. But Hamels shut down the Padres threat by striking out center fielder Cameron Maybin. He said that getting out of that threat was a matter of making good pitches.

“Getting into the game, it’s go time, you just go out and execute,” Hamels said. “I feel like I’ve been able to execute a lot more from start to finish and not giving in, especially when I do get behind. I’m just to trying to execute pitches and not trying to overdo it and force outs. I was able to make good pitches and get good results.”

The Phillies offense for the seven innings couldn’t get anything going off San Diego starter Tyson Ross, who allowed zero runs on four Phillies hits.

Phillies Are Not Even Close to Being Contenders

3 Jun

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Roberto Hernandez had a rough night in an 11-2 loss to the Mets.

Roberto Hernandez had a rough night in an 11-2 loss to the Mets.

PHILADELPHIA—You would like to think that because it’s only June that there is plenty of time for the last-place Phillies, who are now six and one-half games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves, to right their ship and back into contention.

Considering that the Phillies (24-31) lost four out of five games to a New York Mets squad that is quite frankly just as bad as they are, you gotta have a lot of faith to think the Phils can turn it around. I mean a whole lot of faith to believe this team can get it together.

“We have to get better at everything. That’s the whole goal,” said Phillies second baseman Chase Utley in a rare post-game interview with reporters. “I don’t think there’s any one thing missing. We have to hit better and we have to play better defense.”

Looking at the way they are playing at this point in the season, it might be an accomplishment if they can just get to .500. The playoffs, even in the era of two wildcard teams, are way out of the question. The July 31st trade deadline is looking more and more like a fire sale.

Monday’s 11-2 loss to the Mets was a combination of bad pitching, a lack of offense, poor defense and a horrific night by the bullpen. It was a microcosm of a bad season by a lackluster team.

“I would say that we’ve showed signs of fundamental baseball,” said manager Ryne Sandberg. “We’ve played better defense than we did in this series. It’s just putting together the pitching, the defense, executing throughout the game and having some timely hits and getting some better run support. Putting it all together or more parts of the game together.”

The starting pitching, which has had some good moments this season, fell completely apart in the series finale against the Mets. Starter pitcher Roberto Hernandez, who has pitched well in his starts throughout the season, had a bad night or more accurately one bad inning.

For the game, Hernandez (2-2) gave up five runs, four came in the sixth inning when the Mets sent 10 men to the plate a pair of RBI doubles by David Wright and Willmer Flores put the Phillies in a 5-0 hole from which they never recovered.

The Phillies had a chance to minimize the damage in that inning when Mets first baseman Lucas Duda hit a routine ground ball to Utley who mishandled a ball that should have led to an inning-ending double-play. Instead, it loaded the bases and Flores got the double to break the game open.

On offense, the Phillies scored their runs on an RBI groundout by Ryan Howard that scored Cesar Hernandez in the sixth and a wild pitch by Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia that scored centerfielder Ben Revere from third in the eighth.

In both of those innings, the Phillies had the first two men reach with nobody out and got just two runs out of it. They were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. If there is anything that’s been consistent about this team is its futility with runners in scoring position.

The bullpen, which came into the game with a 1.60 earned run average since May 22, gave up six runs in the ninth inning, including a grand-slam home run to Flores, who had not hit a home run all year for the Mets. That sent the fans, some of whom were doing Eagles and Flyers chants, rushing to the exits.

The Phllies finished the homestand with just four wins in 11 games. They are 12-19 at home for the season. Teams that contend don’t struggle at home. The 2014 Phillies should never be confused with a team that is contending for anything.

When you look at their starting lineup, you have guys who are capable of hitting and yet they don’t do it on a consistent basis. Ryan Howard is either feast or famine. He was 8-for-45 during the homestand, but also had four home runs and 15 runs batted in.

You also have guys like Marlon Byrd, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins, who are not having bad years individually. But they haven’t come through in clutch situations with any kind of consistency. Domonic Brown, who was an All-Star last season, is only hitting .206 with just four home runs and 27 runs batted in.

Yet, Sandberg believes his squad is still capable of being a good team that can put together some wins to get back in the pennant race.

“We showed better baseball than what we’ve played overall and I believe the core group is there,” Sandberg said.

 

Another Episode of Bad Baseball Theater in Phillies Extra-Inning Loss to the Mets

1 Jun
Cole Hamels had eight strikeouts and allowed just two runs in the Phillies He got no run support from the Phillies offense.

Cole Hamels had eight strikeouts and allowed just two runs in the Phillies loss to the Mets. He got no run support from the Phillies offense.

PHILADELPHIA—If the Phillies and New York Mets were true contenders for a division title or a National League pennant, the three extra-inning games between two teams would have been the top story on every national sports cable or website.

Instead, it has been a display of how woefully inconsistent both teams are and why they are in an “epic” fight for last place in the National League East. Both teams figured out ways to give the game to their opponent this weekend.

In the Phillies 4-3 loss to the Mets in 11 innings Sunday at Citizen’s Bank Park, it was that old combination of not enough of run support for starting pitcher Cole Hamels, bad base running, and the bullpen not keeping them in the game.

The Mets got the winning runs they needed in the top of the 11th on a two-run homer by first baseman Lucas Duda off Phillies right-handed reliever Phillippe Aumont that broke a 2-2 tie.

The Phillies closed the gap in their half of 11th with a solo-homer by Marlon Byrd, but would come no closer.

To be honest, you really can’t put this loss on the Phillies bullpen or the starting pitching because they did their respective parts to win the game in the innings prior to the 11th. The Phils offense or lack thereof was the real culprit of this latest loss.

The Phillies best opportunity to take the lead and possibly win it was in the seventh inning. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez reached on a bunt single and was moved to second a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Reid Brignac.

Domonic Brown singled to short left field, but Hernandez was held at third by third base coach Pete Mackinin. Meanwhile, Brown overran first base and got caught up in a run-down and was tagged out at second. Centerfielder Ben Revere grounded out to third to end the inning as 36, 039 fans rightfully booed them off the field.

“It really came to our best chance with a possible first and third situation,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “It was a chance to take the lead there. Brown overran the bag. He turned too wide.”

Brown said he made the right read on the ball coming in from center, but probably should have extended the rundown to give Hernandez a chance to score. After the game, he acknowledged that the team needs to work on the basic skills like base running to win.

“We got to be fundamentally sound to be a good ball club and we got to keep fighting, keep battling to do the little things on the baseball field,” Brown said.

Before Byrd’s homerun in the 11th, the Phillies only offense came from first baseman Ryan Howard who hit a two-run homer to center field off Mets starting pitcher Jonathan Niese  to give them a short-lived 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third. The Mets tied the game in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by centerfielder Curtis Granderson that scored Eric Campbell.

The offense’s inability to score wasted a solid effort by Cole Hamels, who fell to 1-4 on the season. In seven innings, Hamels allowed just two runs (one earned) on six hits with eight strikeouts and four walks.

“Cole was solid with his 125 pitches and pitched over errors in the sixth and seventh,” Sandberg said.

Hamels did not speak to reporters after the game. But can you blame him? He might have had a few choice words for his teammates lack of hitting. The Phillies lefthander pitched well enough to win the game before it even got to extra innings. In fact, Hamels helped his own cause on offense with a single.

Too bad Hamels teammates couldn’t put enough hits together to hits to help him out.