David Buchanan Brutal as Phillies Fall to Red Sox in Game three


The Phillies entered the night with a chance to win the opening series of the season. Following a strong performance from Aaron Harang a night ago, David Buchanan took the hill in the rubber match. The Red Sox featured the same lineup as they did on opening day against Cole Hamels, which for all intents and purposes simply meant David Ortiz was back in the lineup. Ryne Sandberg decided to run out the same lineup as last night since they defeated the Sox, with Odubel  Herrera still dealing with a foot issue.

Tonight, David Buchanan looked to build on a solid 2014 campaign that featured him finishing with 3.75 ERA in 20 starts for the Phillies. Unfortunately for Buchanan, his start did not go as planned.

In the first inning, Buchanan got Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia out before finding trouble for the first time of the night. That trouble began with David Ortiz, who drew a walk, followed by a line drive off the glove of Freddy Galvis. However, Buchanan was able to work out of the tough situation by getting Pablo Sandoval to ground out to Chase Utley. This inning would take almost 30 pitches to get out of, which was the first sign of a short night for Buchanan.

The second inning looked as if the would be even more trouble when Shane Victorino led off with a single, but was erased by a 6-4-3 double play. The next batter was Xander Bogaerts, who walked. With Bogaerts on first, Buchanan worked out of the inning by striking out opposing pitcher, Justin Masterson.

It all unraveled for Buchanan in his third inning of work with two out and David Ortiz stepping up to the plate. Ortiz singled on a ground ball to Chase Utley, who was in shallow right field because of the shift applied for Ortiz. The inning truly escalated when Hanley Ramirez hit a ball back at Buchanan, who deflected the ball and made an errant throw toward first and into the crowd. This placed runners at second and third with two outs. Pablo Sandoval, who had struggled in this series, drew a walk to load the bases. Shane Victorino would follow with an infield single to Cody Asche to get the scoring under way.

With a 1-0 lead and the bases loaded, Ryan Hanigan drew a walk to make the score 2-0 in the third inning. The next batter to the plate, Xander Bogaerts, hit a triple to shallow left field to make the score 5-0. The insult to injury came when Justin Masterson singled up the middle to make the score 6-0. Buchanan would work his way out of the inning by getting Mookie Betts to ground out to Cody Asche, who fired to Chase Utley to end the inning.

The Phillies weren’t going to go down without a fight. In the bottom of the third, the Phillies appeared to get to Justin Masterson for the first time. Following a strikeout by Francoeur, shortstop Freddy Galvis singled on a ball hit to Bogaerts. With a runner on first and Buchanan exiting the game, Ryne Sandberg used Odubel Herrera as a pinch-hitter. Herrera would draw a walk, putting runners on first and second with one out for Ben Revere. Revere grounded into a fielders choice that erased Odubel Herrera. During the next at-bat, Masterson would fire a wild pitch, allowing Galvis to score from third and moving Revere to second. Ruiz would draw a walk, bringing Chase Utley to the plate with two on and two out. Utley would shoot a sinker back through the middle to make it 6-2.

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The newly acquired Dustin McGowan would make his first appearance for the Phillies in relief of Buchanan, and turned in an impressive performance. McGowan would work two innings, allowing no runs and one hit.

The Phillies couldn’t overcome Justin Masterson, who worked with his sinker and slider all night. It appeared early that Masterson had the Phillies off balance with his sinker that runs in to right-handed hitters and a boomerang slider. On multiple occasions, Phillies hitters would quit on the pitch when it appeared to be running at their hip (right-handers) or working over the back-edge of the plate (left-handers). This combination of pitches allowed Masterson to work six brilliant innings on the mound, allowing two earned runs while striking out seven and walking two.

Upon the exit of Masterson, the Phillies appeared to have a rally started against left-handed reliever Craig Breslow. The seventh inning against Breslow would start with a walk to Asche that was followed by a strikeout of Francoeur. Freddy Galvis hit a line drive to right field to put two on with one out. Pinch-hitter Andres Blanco would hit a weak pop fly to Xander Boegarts for the second out of the inning. Ben Revere followed, and he roped a ball to right field, but Victorino was able to track it down to end the Phillies threat.

For the Phillies, this would be their last threat of the night, dropping the third and decisive game of the series 6-2. For the series, the Phillies were outscored 16-6 by the power hitting Sox and dropped the series two-to-one.

The Phillies schedule will not get any easier as they welcome the division champion Nationals to town. As Comcast SportsNet’s Corey Seidman pointed out via Twitter, the Phillies next ten mound opponents are Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister (twice) , Max Scherezer (twice), Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and  Jonathan Niese. Good luck.