Phelps' seven scoreless a big boost for Marlins
PHILADELPHIA -- With a chance to secure a series win at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday, the Marlins needed a quality start from David Phelps. More to the point, with a bullpen that has struggled and an offense that has been a bit unlucky, Phelps needed to have a game in which he kept the Marlins close.
He did more than that with seven shutout innings on 95 pitches -- an indication he's stretched out after opening the year in the bullpen -- in a 9-1 win over the Phillies. In what amounted to a complete team effort, Phelps set the stage for the Marlins to finish the road trip 4-6 and to have a rested 'pen when they host the Nationals this weekend in a division showdown.
"When we are able to get deeper into games, it takes pressure off of everybody," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It takes pressure off the offense, it takes pressure off the bullpen. [Phelps] pitched great and it was nice to see our offense come alive and take pressure off of him."
Despite the game being played on a blustery afternoon, Phelps didn't change his game plan. He worked the plate and had the Phillies on their heels for much of the afternoon. So much so that Phelps went seven scoreless innings for the first time in his career.
"Really?!" said Phelps said with a laugh. "Nice.
"Look, it's April, and to do that is good. I had some tough outings, but now I can get back to what I was doing in the spring."
Phelps outing helped him drop his ERA by more than half, as it went from 7.95 to 3.55 in just one afternoon. He struck out five, but more importantly coaxed enough ground balls -- several to shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who flashed plenty of leather to go with a 4-for-4 afternoon -- to keep the Phillies in search of answers.
The Marlins scored four runs in the fourth, and from there, Phelps was in the driver's seat.
"That's huge," Phelps said. "I wasn't close to my full pitch count yet and that helped me to relax. I was able to attack a little more and not try to be so perfect. It was a big deal."
"He's a guy that has to hit his spots," Redmond said. "Put the ball on the corners, and he was able to do that. When he missed, he missed away from contact. The wind today was heavy, as you could see, but he pitched into the wind when he needed to and got some quick outs.
"We just wanted to get his pitch count up. We wanted to get him close to 100 pitches, and he got there in a good way."