Tag Archives: Roberto Hernandez

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.

 

Phillies Are a Team Going Nowhere Fast

24 May

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

Roberto Hernandez had another good outing wasted by Phillies lack of offense.

Roberto Hernandez had another good outing wasted by Phillies lack of offense in Friday’s loss to the LA. Dodgers.

PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies 2-0 shutout loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night at Citizen’s Bank Park typified what has been a bad to mediocre 2014 season.

First off, you had a pretty good pitching performance by Roberto Hernandez, who allowed just two runs in six and one-third innings of work. Unfortunately, Hernandez’s efforts went by the wayside because his offensive teammates couldn’t hit with men in scoring position.

“I thought Hernandez was outstanding, battling through his seven innings with his 110 pitches,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “We had three opportunities with two men and no outs.”

On three separate occasions—the fourth inning, the sixth inning and the seventh inning—the Phillies had runners in scoring position with less than one out.

Not only did they not score, they went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. In the fourth and in the sixth, it was their three, four, five and sixth hitters-Chase Utley, Marlon Byrd, Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf that came up empty. They were 0-for-6 with four strikeouts.

“I kind of felt, it could have went the other way with something here or there,”  Sandberg said. “Against a tough pitcher, we created some opportunities with some base runners.”
On one level, you have to give credit to Dodgers starting lefthander Clayton Kershaw who kept the Phillies off the board with nine strikeouts while scattering two hits in six innings on the board. The Phils had their chances to put the knockout punch to Kershaw, but came up short.

“Kershaw did the job when he needed to and we didn’t,” said Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. “He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball.”

When you’re going up against a quality pitcher and you let him off the hook, you’re not going to win. That’s why this team is now five games below .500 and on a path to another bad season when their chase for the postseason will have an early ending.

I know you’re saying, dude it’s only May and we have a lot of baseball left to play. True, I am normally not in the habit of saying a team’s season is toast just two months into the season. But unless they can find some consistency on a regular basis in every aspect, they will head into an abyss from which they may never recover.

Throughout this season, the Phillies losses have been a continuum of not playing a complete game. If the starting pitching is going well, the offense falters. The Phils have been shut out in five of their last eight games at home. It was the If they’re hitting well, the pitching or the defense falls by the wayside. On some occasions this season the bullpen has been blown leads.

This is the kind of up and town play that makes me wonder if this is really the best team they can put out on the field. If that’s the case, this is going to be a long year which means the Phillies will be sellers at the July 31st trade deadline.

Yes, it’s only May and it may not be fair to some of you that we may be counting this team out early. But the reality of it is that we have to grips with the idea that this team is simply not that good and will not get better anytime soon.

It’s getting to the point where we may to cue former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora’s playoff rant and apply it to this team: “Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs…”
At this point, the Phillies need to start winning games, starting with the next one.

Hernandez Comes up Huge For Phillies in Win over Washington

5 May

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

Roberto Hernandez allowed no runs on four hits in the Phillies win over the Washington Nationals.

Roberto Hernandez allowed no runs on four hits in the Phillies win over the Washington Nationals.

PHILADELPHIA-Whenever a Phillies starting pitcher has a good outing with a slim lead, the question in the back of your mind nowadays is how will the bullpen blow this one?

Against the Washington Nationals, Phils right-hander Roberto Hernandez pitched seven and one-third third innings of scoreless baseball. He threw 104 pitches and allowed just four hits with three strikeouts. He left the game in the eighth inning with one out and a man on second.

This time the bullpen came through for the Phillies (15-14) and preserved a 1-0 shutout on a cool, breezy Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 37,490 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Relievers Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo got Hernandez in the last two outs in the inning.  In the ninth inning, Closer Jonathan Papelbon finished off the Nationals by striking out pinch hitter Zack Walters with a man on first. It was his ninth save of the season.

“It was situational,” Manager Ryne Sandberg said of his pitching moves in the eighth inning. “We were going with the match-ups there. Both guys were effective.”

After a shaky first inning, Hernandez settled down and kept Washington off the scoreboard even though had men reached base at various times in the contest. Throughout the game, Hernandez, who was a last minute substitute for Cole Hamels who missed his start because of illness, was in command of pitches and kept Washington hitters off- balance.

“I think (Hernandez) has gotten better as we’ve gone along as far as command and control and using his pitches and his pitch count,” Sandberg said. “He retired 12 out of his last 13 hitters, which was impressive. He got into a groove as far as establishing the strike zone and using all of his pitches.”

In the first inning, Hernandez struggled a bit. He gave up a hit and two walks while throwing 17 pitches. But he didn’t allow a run to score. For the next six and one-third innings after that, Hernandez found his mojo and kept Washington from scoring.

“I think for me it was important to keep the ball down,” Hernandez said. “I had a little bit of trouble in the first inning, but after that I kept the ball down and kept the ball in play.”

Adams and Bastardo helped Hernandez to get the win by getting the last two outs of the eighth inning. Adams had pitched in every game in the series including Friday’s eighth inning meltdown in a 5-3 loss. He said it was the kind of effort the bullpen has to do on a consistent basis.

“It all worked good. We got the ‘W’ and I think that’s what our bullpen is capable of doing there,” Adams said. “Hopefully, we can get this thing turned around and going in the right direction. Bad outings are going to happen, but at the same time you want to get out there and do it on a consistent basis.”

The Phillies jumped on the board in the first inning on Chase Utley’s run-scoring single that drove home Jimmy Rollins, who tripled. That was all they needed to win with the effort from Hernandez and the bullpen.

Winning a series from a Nationals team that’s expected to be at the top of the National League East standings gives the team a decent boost early in the season, said Phillies center fielder Ben Revere.

“The Nationals are a great team and they got great pitching bullpen and hitters,” Revere said. “Winning the first series is big because last we kinda fell behind. Winning this series is a big step up so hopefully we’ll keep at it for the rest of the season.”

 

Bad Bullpen Theatre: Phils Relievers Stink up the Joint in Loss to Atlanta

15 Apr

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

Jake Diekman gave up a grand-slam home-run in the Phillies heartbreaking loss to the Braves Monday night.

Jake Diekman gave up a grand-slam home-run in the Phillies heartbreaking loss to the Braves Monday night.

PHILADELPHIA—Maybe it’s too early in the season for the Phillies (6-7) to start measuring themselves by a four-game series in April. After sweeping the Florida Marlins over the weekend and bringing their record up to .500, there’s certainly a reason to feel good about themselves.

But for a Phillies team that hasn’t come anywhere near the playoffs since 2011, it is the first of many tests to see how they stack up like teams like the first-place Atlanta Braves (9-4), the defending National League East champions.

“It’s a series in our division and it’s against a team that’s had success,” said Phils manager Ryne Sandberg. “Play well in this series and to do well early on in the season there’s some importance to that as with every game. We need to play well against teams in our division. It’s a measuring stick within our division to see where we’re at.”

Where the Phillies are right now is that they have a bullpen that is simply awful and if they don’t do something to fix the problem, they won’t be able to hang with the Braves or anybody else in the division.

Phils relievers gave up seven runs in the final two innings-including a grand-slam in the top of the ninth as the Braves came away with a 9-6 victory over the Phillies in front of 25, 516 fans, most of whom were already the parking lot by the bottom of the ninth.

Dan Uggla’s ninth-inning grand-slam home run off Jake Diekman was the big blow after the Phillies scoredfive in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-5 lead. With regular closer Jonathan Papelbon unavailable after appearing in three straight games over the weekend, Diekman walked B.J. Upton, who moved to two second after first baseman Freddie Freeman reached on a fielder’s choice.

A walk to Justin Upton loaded the bases. After Diekman struck out catcher Evan Gattis, Uggla took an 0-1 pitch and parked it into the left field stands for a home run that put the Braves ahead for good.

“I wasn’t throwing strikes and attacking the zone. You can’t walk people like that,” Diekman said after the game. “You can’t start hitters 2-0 every time.”

Diekman wasn’t the only Phillies reliever to have a bad night. B.J. Rosenberg came into the Atlanta half of the eighth inning with the Phillies trailing 2-1 and then promptly gave up three straight solo home runs to Gattis, who also homered in the sixth, Uggla, and shortstop Andrelton Simmonds.
“Rosenburg struggled. He pitched behind in the count and was up with his breaking pitch,” Sandberg said. “He was throwing the ball, 94, 95 (miles per hour). He was behind in the count with the fast balls and his breaking ball seemed to be up in the zone.”

The Phillies offense came to life in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored five runs to take the lead. The Phils got a two-run, bases loaded single from right fielder Marlon Byrd and a three-run home run by Domonic Brown. It was his first since Aug. 14 2013.

“It’s tough for us to come up on the losing end,” Byrd said. “That was a helluva game. That’s what fans come for to see that excitement of going back and forth like that with nobody giving in. You gotta tip your cap. Uggla had an amazing night and did an amazing job tonight.”

The bullpen’s woes overshadowed another good outing by young Phillies righthander Roberto Hernandez., who allowed two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk while throwing 118 pitches in six innings on the mound. He kept the Braves scoreless for five innings and had a 1-0 lead thanks to a solo homerun by Ryan Howard. In the sixth, he gave up a two-run homer Gattis to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.

“I thought Hernandez battled with men on base with his 118 pitches,” Sandberg said. “He had some long counts, but hung in there and did a nice job with men on base.”

Braves starting pitcher Ervin Santana allowed just one  run on four hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks.

 

Errors, Bullpen and Braun Kill Phillies Again

10 Apr

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

 

Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd had two runs batted in, but it wasn't as the Phils lose their third straight. Webster Riddick.

Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd had two runs batted in, but it wasn’t as the Phils lose their third straight. Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—There are four formulas that the Phillies (3-5) have suffered in losing their first two home games—poor fielding, lack of clutch hitting, poor relief pitching and Milwaukee’s Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun.
After hitting three homeruns on Tuesday, Braun’s two-run triple helped to break open a tie game and propelled the Brewers (6-2) to a 9-4 win over a Phillies team that is mired a three-game losing streak.

That decisive eighth inning was a microcosm of the Phillies early-season troubles. The inning started with reliever Antonio Bastardo issuing a walk to first baseman Mark Reynolds, who stole second and wound up on third on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Scooter Gennett.

“(Bastardo) had him in a 0-2 hole,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “Lead-off walks are tough and lot of times they circle the bases.”

With the infield in, pinch-hitter Logan Schafer hit a slow line drive down the first-base line that caromed off Ryan Howard’s glove and into right field to bring home Reynolds with the go-ahead run. Howard was charged with an error and the Brewers took a 5-4 lead. It got even worse when Braun tripled home two more runs.
In the Brewers ninth inning, Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus gave up a two-run homer Reynolds to wrap the game up for a hot-hitting Milwaukee squad.
The Phillies committed two errors. A fielding error in the first inning by veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins eventually led to two runs and Howard’s eighth inning miscue led to the go ahead run.
For the last three games, the Phillies have committed six errors that have resulted in 15 runs. Throughout spring training, Sandberg had been emphasizing fundamentals on defense. So far, it seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
“We definitely have to tighten that up. I don’t what to say about it,” Sandberg said. “We work at it, we talk about it. Some of the plays are routine and we haven’t made routine plays. … It’s also early season stuff, but we’re in the process of working all that out and then stress it. That’s for sure.”
Late inning has not been a strong suit for the Phillies team so far in 2014. In the last two games, from the seventh inning to the end of the game, Phils relief pitchers have given up nine runs. Close games have inevitably become blowouts when Phillies relievers have come into game. Bastardo was credited with the loss.
Meanwhile, the Phillies offense got off to a good, scoring three runs on a balk and RBI fielder’s choices by Marlon Bryd and Domonic Brown to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. The Brewers tied the game on an RBI double by shortstop Jean Segura in the second inning. A solo homer by centerfielder Carlos Gomez gave Milwaukee a 4-3 lead.
The Phillies tied it in the fifth on an RBI single by Byrd that scored catcher Carlos Ruiz, but that’s as close as the Phillies would get.
Phillies pitcher Roberto Hernandez had a decent outing for the Phillies after a rough first two innings. In the first inning, he allowed two runs on two hits and threw 28 pitches in the inning. For the game, he allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits with nine strikeouts and one walk in five innings. He threw 104 pitches.
“In the first inning, there was a little bit of trouble with my command ,” Hernandez said. “I kept the ball down and kept on pitching. I threw a lot of changeups and I kept the ball down.”