Thursday, April 6, 2017

Game 3: Phillies hope to bounce back in series finale


We have an early start for the Phillies and Reds today with a 12:35 PM first pitch. Clay Buchholz will make his official debut as a Phillie.

The Phillies faltered last night to the Reds, 2-0. Jerad Eickhoff lasted 6 2/3 innings and surrendered both runs in the seventh inning. He collected six strikeouts. As for the offense, Reds' starter Brandon Finnegan worked through a tough first inning and settled down, retiring 19 batters in a row at one point.

Did You Notice
The Phillies made Finnegan work in the first inning, forcing the Reds' hurler to toss 25 pitches before he managed to escape the frame unscathed. Also, when Eickhoff ran into trouble in the seventh, the three pitches that hurt him the most were all curve balls that hung over too much of the plate (see graph below for pitch placement).


Beyond the Boxscore
Despite surrendering the two runs, Eickhoff was the best player via WPA for the Phillies (.074). Cameron Rupp led the offense with a .065 WPA sparked by an eighth inning single that put runners on first and second with no out, Reds' reliever Michael Lorenzen proceeded to strike out Freddy Galvis and Michael Saunders in succession before Cesar Hernandez ended the threat grounding out to second.

Quotable
"I thought we were going to set the tone of the game, but then [Finnegan] settled down after that," said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin.

Similar to Monday, the Phillies demonstrated patience at the plate in the first inning. However, Finnegan pitched extremely well after the first and threw 58 of 88 pitches for strikes on the evening. The Phillies often found themselves behind in the count early.

Most Important Play 
Joey Votto's solo shot in the seventh off Eickhoff had a WPA value .200 and was the highlight of the game. Rupp's single in the eighth had a WPA of .107.

Game Score
Eickhoff finished with a Game Score of 62. His average in 2016 was 53.9.

Thursday's Lineup
Hernandez 4
Nava 7
Herrera 8
Franco 5
Saunders 9
Knapp 2
Stassi 3
Galvis 6
Buchholz 1

The Reds counter Buchholz with aptly named righty Rookie Davis - a 24-year-old making his Major League Baseball debut.

As with the previous two contests of this series, rain again may be an issue.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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