Phillies News

Phillies bullpen comes to the aid of Turnbull following first shaky outing

It was the bullpen in accompany with the Phillies' offense who had Spencer Turnbull's back Saturday vs. Pirates.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The clock struck midnight on Spencer Turnbull’s Cinderella season Saturday. Well, in the interest of total accuracy, it was actually 4:06 p.m. when the 31-year-old righthander threw his first pitch against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Just a few minutes after that, following a one-out walk to Bryan Reynolds and a double by Ke’Bryan Hayes, he’d allowed his first earned run of year.

 Turnbull has been a pheelgood story in April. Figuratively standing in the baseball unemployment line until camps opened, he signed with the Phillies after three injury-plagued years with the Tigers. He ended up in the rotation when Taijuan Walker was placed on the injured list with a sore shoulder.

And in his first two starts, he was marvelous. Eleven innings with a 0.00 ERA. Five hits. One walk. Thirteen strikeouts. A .128 opponents batting average.

Even Sandy Koufax in his prime wasn’t going to continue putting up numbers like that indefinitely and Turnbull floated gently back to earth his third time out. He wasn’t pounded. But he gave up three runs in four-plus innings.

The most obvious difference was his command. Or lack of it. He gave up four hits but also walked four. He threw 88 pitches, barely half (48) for strikes.

 All’s well that ends well, though. The bullpen – Matt Strahm, Gregory Soto, Jose Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman – held the fort with five shutout innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. Since the first two games of the regular season, Phillies relievers have combined for a 3.40 ERA.

Nick Castellanos gave the Phillies a walk-off 4-3 win when he drove in Whit Merrifield from third with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Said Turnbull: “It was a little rough. I was having a little trouble trying to figure out the wind. Especially the four-seam wasn’t cutting quite the same. The sweeper and slider weren’t breaking the same. So I was trying to figure that out. Just wasn’t attacking the zone very well and got behind in the count a lot.

“I was keep it only at three (runs) but the way I pitched I think that was fortunate. Just say that.”

As a side note, Turnbull was throwing to back-up catcher Garrett Stubbs, who had also caught his first two games. Rob Thomson indicated that previous successful working relationship they’d had was the reason J.T. Realmuto was sitting, not because the All-Star was nailed on the left wrist by a 97.9 mile per hour sinker Friday night when reliever Yunior Marte crossed him up in the seventh inning. Realmuto is expected to start Sunday.


The Phillies made an expected roster move after the game, optioning righthanded reliever Nick Nelson to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and activating righthander Orion Kerkering (strained forearm) from the injured list. . .After suggesting that leftfielder Brandon Marsh would start against both Pirates lefties, Bailey Falter Friday and Marco Gonzalez Saturday, Thomson decided to sit Marsh against Gonzalez. The manager remains committed to giving Marsh a chance to prove he can hit lefthanders, but balanced that against the need to get Cristian Pasche and Edmundo playing time. ...That gave the bottom of Saturday’s lineup a distinctly spring-training-road-game-in-Sarasota feel to it: Sosa at second base batting sixth, Stubbs batting seventh, Pasche in left batting eighth and Johan Rojas in center batting ninth.


Pirates RHP Mitch Keller (1-1, 5.29) will face RHP Zack Wheeler (0-2, 1.89) in the series finale Sunday at 1:35 p.m.

The longest homestand of the season continues with three games against the Rockies starting Monday and a weekend series against the White Sox. RHP Aaron Nola (2-1, 4.50), LHP Ranger Suarez (2-0, 2.65) and LHP Christopher Sanchez (0-2, 3.52) are lined up to face Colorado.

Contact Us