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Phillies monthly review: April 2017
by Scott Butler 5/1/17

Phillies Dugout

Phillies April Storyline

For the second straight season, the Phillies had a successful April, all things considered. The Phils had a better record in April last year (14-10), but they were outscored by 17 runs (89-97). This year's Phillies finished a game under .500 at 11-12, but they also have a positive run differential (106 runs scored, 100 runs allowed). This is a better team.

To be where the Phillies are is especially impressive considering the competition. 15 of their 24 games were played against teams who reached the postseason last year. Pete Mackanin set a goal of .500 this season, and the Phils have done little to change that goal.

After a nice win on Opening Day, the Phils found themselves 4 games under .500 at 4-8, but won 7 of their next 8 games, including a six game winning streak and consecutive sweeps of the Braves and Marlins. Then it was off to L.A., where the Dodgers demoralized the Phils and ruined what could have a been a really nice opening month.

April was a breakout month for Cesar Hernandez who started off the season with a home run and hasn't really stopped hitting since. He hit .323 in April with a team leading 4 homers along with 10 RBIs, 20 runs scored, and and OPS of .906. Few other hitters had particularly impressive months, with Cameron Rupp and Tommy Joseph really struggling. Joseph hit below .200 for the month (.179), and it took until the last day for Rupp to jump over the Mendoza Line.

The biggest surprises came off the bench. Aaron Altherr filled in for Howie Kendrick nicely and batted .295 in 17 games with 2 homers. Daniel Nava was even better. He slammed two home runs in one game and put up a sick line: .344 average, .500 OBP, .594 slugging, and a 1.094 OPS. If this keeps up, Klentak might have to trade Kendrick and Saunders before June.

On the pitching side, Jeremy Hellickson was outstanding, posting a 1.80 ERA for the month, and Eickhoff was his normal effective self with a 3.56 ERA. But, the big story for the starting staff was injuries. Clay Buchholz is essentially done for the year and Aaron Nola is on the DL with back issues. The Phils didn't miss a beat, though. Zach Eflin stepped in with a 1.89 ERA in three starts and Nick Pivetta pitched himself out of trouble in his first start.

The bullpen was mostly a mess. The Phillies are now on their third closer and five relievers have ERA's over 4. Those struggles cannot be applied to newly acquired Pat Neshek, who has yet to surrender a run in 9 appearances.

And that's a rap on month number one. To the numbers:

Phillies April Win/Loss Totals

Record: 11-12
Home record: 7-4
Road record: 4-8
Top winning streak: 6
Top losing streak: 4
Series record: 4-4
Began month: N/A
Finished month: 11-12, 5 games behind 1st place Nationals, tied with Marlins for second place.

Phillies Totals and NL Rankings for month of April

Phillies Team Hitting April Totals 
Average: .253 (7th) 
Runs: 106 (8th) 
Runs/game: 4.6 (6th) 
HR: 25 (12th) 
BB: 70  (12th) 
SO: 204 (6th most) 
OBP: .316 (t-9th) 
SLG: .424 (6th) 
OPS .740 (t-8th)

Phillies Team Pitching April Totals
ERA: 4.29 (8th) 
ER: 97
IP: 203.1

Phillies Starting Pitching April Totals
ERA: 3.98 (7th) 
ER: 57
IP: 129.0

Phillies Relief Pitching April Totals
ERA: 4.84 (10th) 
ER: 40
IP: 74.1

Phillies April Win/Loss Chart

Phillies 2016 August Win Loss Chart

Phillies April Event Recap

@Cincinnati Reds April 3-6
(Phillies lose series 1-2)

Game 1: Hernandez lead off the game with homer and Kendrick went 3-for-5 in 4-3 win.
Game 2: Eickhoff battled Finnegan through first six innings before allowing 2 runs in 7th in 2-0 loss.
Game 3: Daniel Nava homered in his first two AB's as a Phil, but Buchholz struggled through 5 innings, allowed 4 runs, and blew a 4-1 lead. Adam Morgan allowed 3 more, including a homer to pinch-hitting relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen in 7-4 loss.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS April 7-9
(Phillies win series 2-1)

Game 1: Velasquez fanned 10 but allowed 2 homers in 4 innings in home opener and Werth added a 3-run homer off Joely Rodriguez in 7-6 loss. Altherr and Galvis also homered in rally that fell short.
Game 2: Phils score 12 times in the first inning, the most ever in the first inning in club history and one shy of team record for an inning set in 2003 in 17-3 win.
Game 3: Hellickson left with injury after five inning and Phils built 3-0 lead before Gomez blew save by allowing 3-run homer in ninth, but Hernandez bloop hit in bottom of ninth gave Phils win.

NEW YORK METS April 10-12
(Phillies swept 0-3)

Game 1: Eickhoff goes 7 innings and left with 2-2 tie. Ramos threw behind Cabrera in eighth, Mackanin was ejected, and Rodriguez allowed 2-run homer. Stassi collected first hit with 9th inning homer but Phils lost 4-3.
Game 2: Buchholz last 2.1 and allows 6 runs before leaving with right forearm strain and Cespedes hits 3 of 7 Mets homers in 14-4 loss.
Game 3: Velasquez last just five innings and allows 5 runs and Franco's grand slam were only runs scored in 5-4 loss and sweep to Mets.

@Washington Nationals April 14-16
(Phillies lose series 1-2)

Game 1: Nola pitches strong five innings with one run, but Phils blew 2-1 lead and Gomez surrendered walk-off hit in 10th.
Game 2: Hellickson goes 7, Cesar Hernandez hit game-winning two-run homer, and Benoit earned first save in 4-2 win.
Game 3: Down 3-1, Phils score 3 times in 8th and 9th to take 4-3 lead, but Benoit allowed 3-run walk-off homer to Bryce Harper in 6-4 loss.

@New York Mets April 18-20
(Phillies win series 2-1)

Game 1: Phils tie game 2-2 in 8th, although should have taken lead if Galvis ran to first on error, but scored 4 times in 10th for 6-2 win.
Game 2: Jay Bruce hit 3-run homer off Velasquez and another homer in the 8th to give Mets 5-4 win.
Game 3: Phils score 5 runs in first three innings against Syndergaard and Rodriguez tossed two of 4 scoreless innings by bullpen in 6-4 win.

ATLANTA BRAVES April 21-23
(Phillies sweep series 3-0)

Game 1: Hellickson went 7 innings and allowed 2 runs, Hernandez had 3 hits, and Phils got 11 hits off Colon, while Neris notched second straight save to end 7-game losing streak against Braves.
Game 2: Phils held 2-1 6th inning lead into ninth, but Ramos blew save. The Phils committed two errors and allowed a run in 10th, but Franco hit bases loaded walk-off single for 4-3 win.
Game 3: Eflin went 7 innings and allowed one run, while Hernandez, Altherr, and Herrera hit back-to-back-to-back homers in 8th as Phils sweep Braves.

MIAMI MARLINS April 25-27
(Phillies win series 2-0)

Game 1: Franco's grand slam in 5th one of three homers in 7-4 win.
Game 2: Hellickson improved to 4-0 with six innings of one run ball and Stassi's sixth inning triple plated winning run in 3-2 win for Phils' 6th straight win.

@Los Angeles Dodgers April 28-30
(Phillies win series 2-1)

Game 1: Phils took 2-0 lead in 3rd, but Eickhoff allowed 5 runs in the next four innings in 5-3 loss to end 6-game winning streak.
Game 2: Eflin with a 7-inning gem and two runs allowed and Stassi's 3-run homer in 4th helped Phils to a 5-2 lead in 9th, but Neris allowed three straight homers and Dodgers won on ball that trickled off Franco's glove.
Game 3: Pivetta worked in and out of trouble with just 2 runs in 5 innings, but 3-run homer off Gomez in 6th helped Dodgers to 5-3 and series sweep.

Phillies April Highlights and notes

April 8 - Phillies scored 12 times in the first inning against the Washington Nationals. It was the most runs in the first inning in club history and the second most runs in an inning in club history (they scored 13 runs against the Reds in 2003.
April 9 - Hernandez bloop hit in bottom of ninth gave Phils walk-off win.
April 10 - Pete Mackanin removed Jeanmar Gomez from the closer role and promoted Joaquin Benoit.
April 10 - Phillies announced that Pete Rose will be inducted into the Wall of Fame.
April 11 - Buchholz leaves game with right forearm strain. He will undergo surgery that might cost his full season.
April 14 - Phillies pitching prospect Elniery Garcia suspended 80 games after testing positive for PED.
April 18 - Phillies placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list with an abdominal strain.
April 30 - Nick Pivetta makes MLB debut against Dodgers.

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