A rough May ended with a thud, but June began with a bang for the Philadelphia Phillies, a young team mired in last place in the NL East. A 9-7 win over the San Francisco Giants gave the Phillies their first series win since April and showed that this month might have something a little better in store for the Phils than May did. A key contributor has had some pop return to his bat, too.
Last week: 2-4
Season: 19-35, fifth in NL East
Games back: 15.5 in division, 12.5 in wild card
Finally, the Phillies won a series. Sunday afternoon’s 9-7 win over the San Francisco Giants gave Philadelphia its first series win since a two-game sweep of the Miami Marlins on April 26-27. It came in style, too, as the Phillies whacked four home runs, including two from shortstop Freddy Galvis. Center fielder Odubel Herrera and third baseman Maikel Franco, who — like the Phillies as a whole — spent May slumping, also had blasts. Herrera’s tied the game in the seventh, while Franco’s put the Phils ahead. After a brutal May, it was a nice start to June for the team.
The Phillies handled the Marlins in a two-game meeting in April — after a 3-2 win over Miami on April 27, Philadelphia was 11-9 — but the Marlins got their revenge in Miami early last week with a three-game sweep. The Phillies were outscored 21-5, and there were few signs of life.
Right-hander Ben Lively had a sparkling debut Saturday afternoon when he held the Giants to one run over four hits in seven innings of work in a 5-3 victory. Lively, 25, was 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and he gave a struggle pitching staff a boost after right-hander Vince Velasquez went on the disabled list.
Center fielder Odubel Herrera was in and out of the lineup last week and made appearances in only four games. But he made those appearances count. He was 6-for-12 with four doubles, one home run and seven RBI in those plate appearances. He only struck out once and showed the type of pop at the plate that made him the recipient of a lucrative extension in the offseason.
Outfield Michael Saunders, who signed a $9 million contract in the offseason, was 1-for-15 in five games last week. He’s struggled and is hitting only .217 in 52 games this season while ceding some playing time Aaron Altherr. Saunders has shown some pop with six home runs this year, though.
Odubel Herrera back to being his old, joyous self: Sielski [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Herrera, Franco starting to move past slumps: Zolecki [MLB.com]
Phillies prospect Kingery has pop, but is he blocked at the major league level?: Lawrence [PhillyVoice]
Hard to see how Phillies can be good in a couple of years: Brookover [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco to Triple-A? Another Phillies player could be entering that conversation: Gross [The Morning Call]
Lively works deep in dazzling MLB debut: Zolecki [MLB.com]
Klentak’s approach is telling amid struggles during first major test as the Phillies’ GM: Montemurro [The News Journal]
Is there no end to Phillies’ worst stretch in decades?: McGarry [Press of Atlantic City]
Rising Reading closer Therrien credits offseason tutor — a former Cy Young Award winner: Lawrence [PhillyVoice]
Scott Kingery’s monster season continues: Cavadi [Minor League Ball]
June begins as May ended for Phillies: They lost: Narducci [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Phillies’ mission: ‘Balance present and future’: Zolecki [MLB.com]
The Phillies are on the road for nine games against the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox. The Phillies swept a three-game series against Atlanta in April, but they haven’t faced St. Louis or Boston yet this season.
Here are the probable starters for the next three games in Atlanta:
Monday, June 5, 7:35 p.m.: RHP Nick Pivetta (0-2, 5.12) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (2-6, 6.99)
Tuesday, June 6, 7:35 p.m.: RHP Aaron Nola (2-3, 5.06) vs. LHP Jaime Garcia (2-3, 3.18)
Wednesday, June 7, 7:35 p.m.: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (0-6, 5.13) vs. RHP Mike Foltynewicz (3-5, 3.90)