Friday, April 15, 2016

Phillies' Velasquez strikes out 16 in 3-hit shutout

Vincent Velasquez collected 16 strikeouts in 3-0 shutout over the Padres.
Vince Velasquez had never heard of Art Mahaffey or Chris Short prior to Thursday's contest at Citizens Bank Park, but by the end of the afternoon he found himself bound to the two hurlers in the annals of Phillies history.

The 23-year-old struck out 16 in a three-hit 3-0 Phillies win over San Diego. He walked none.

"My face doesn't show it, but it was fun," Velasquez said. "I'm fully excited. Man. Gosh, it's still hitting me."

The 16 strikeouts ranks as third most in a game in Phillies history with just Mahaffey and Short having recorded more in a contest. Velasquez's effort also marked just the third time since 1913 that a pitcher under the age of 23 sat down 16 batters and walked none in a shutout. The other two pitchers to accomplish the feat are Doc Gooden and Kerry Wood.

"It looks like we made a pretty good trade, I'd say," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said, referring to the off-season deal that sent reliever Ken Giles to the Astros in exchange for Velasquez. "How much fun was that to watch?"

"His fastball, I mean, it had every bit of life that it had to it," catcher Cameron Rupp said. "It got to a point where I was thinking to myself, 'I kind of want to mix in a breaking ball here, but I don't need to.' He was blowing everybody's doors off with it."

All told, Velasquez ended seven innings with a strikeout and the Padres offense had one runner reach second base during the entire game.



"It was like a video game out there," righthander Aaron Nola said. "That was incredible, I felt like it was automatic."

Over his first two career starts with the Phillies Velasquez has amassed 25 strikeouts, surpassing Hall of Famer Jim Bunning's previous record of 20 strikeouts over his first two starts in a Phillies uniform in 1964.

“To feel a part of that, it’s pretty exciting,” Velasquez said. “I’m not that type of person to set expectations to get more strikeouts, I’m just trying to go out there and pitch and see where it leads up to.”

Ryan Howard provided the offensive output for the Phillies, clubbing a solo home run in the second and adding a sacrifice-fly in the sixth. The day, however, belonged to Velasquez. The 16 strikeout performance was the most by a Phillies hurler since Cliff Lee in May of 2011.

The victory cemented a second series win for the Phillies following a disastrous opening to the season in Cincinnati.

"A lot of people get bummed out because we went 0-4 the first 4 games but you know, I kind of help the team out by setting that tone, to show people we’re not losers, we’re all winners here.”

Glimmers of a bright future are starting to shine in South Philadelphia.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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