Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pivetta shelled; Altherr injured in Phillies loss to Brewers

Philadelphia stumbles out of the gate as baseball season opens second half
This is not how Nick Pivetta or the Philadelphia Phillies envisioned starting the second half. The Milwaukee Brewers jumped on Pivetta for eight runs in the second inning Friday night en route to a 9-6 win at Miller Park.

The contest actually began well for the Phillies, the offense scoring two runs in the opening frame and Pivttea sitting down the first four batters he faced via strikeout. Then the floodgates opened.

Eight straight Brewers reached base in the second and all eight scored, highlighted by a grand slam by Ryan Braun and a three-run shot by Orlando Arcia.

"That one real bad inning for Pivetta," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He was like two different pitchers out there. He struck out four in a row, then he just didn't locate any of his pitches. He hung every breaking ball he threw up there in that one span of eight hitters. And then he was a different pitcher after that. That did him in, the three-run homer and grand slam."

Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera each drove in two runs, and Franco collected four hits in the losing effort. The Phillies finished the contest going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, an area that's hurt the club all season.

Despite Pivetta's implosion, the worst news of the night for the Phillies came in the fifth inning as Aaron Altherr grabbed at the back of his leg as he reached second base after hitting his second double of the contest. He was lifted from the game and team said he suffered a mild left hamstring strain. More will be known Saturday, but a trip to the disabled list is likely.

“It’s tough to say,” Altherr said, “but I’m optimistic about it.”

As for Pivetta's performance in the second, the Phillies never activated the bullpen and it was clear Mackanin and pitching coach Bob McClure wanted him to persevere and find his way out of the inning.

“He’s a rookie,” Mackanin said. “We’ve seen that before with him, where he’s pitched well and lost it for a while, and got it back. Part of pitching up here is realizing what you need to do. Take a deep breath and step off and regroup. It took him a few too many hitters to do that.”

The two clubs continue their series tonight with Aaron Nola set to oppose Jimmy Nelson.

"Not how we pictured things starting out," Franco said. "It's a fresh start Saturday."
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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