It was hard to keep an excess of snark from this week’s post, as I was one of the victims of Monday night’s embarrassing debacle by the Philadelphia Phillies. There was no excuse for this supposed start of the series against the Washington Nationals, turning instead into the first MLB game postponed because of “wet grounds” since 1987. The team did not make me feel any better with their email saying “The game between the Phillies and the Washington Nationals on September 10, 2018 has been cancelled due to inclement weather.” Inclement weather my *&^&*
Normally I would have been happy to attend a double header, but I had traded my game plan ticket for 9/11 for Monday night, as I did not want to attend the game on that day, and the way they are performing right now cemented my decision to stay home. I still have two more games left of at what at one time I hoped would be meaningful contests, but that is looking less and less likely every game.
I will try to keep my anger at bay.
Hey, they broke a streak, but in Phaillies fashion, it was not being swept in a series since they visited the San Francisco Giants to start the month of June.
Game One: Phillies Cy Young Nomination Tour Rolls On:
The way they played in the matinee opener, of what was now a traditional DH – a sure sign of a team losing it’s fan base in the final weeks – did not assuage my hurt feelings in any way.
They managed just 2H, and 2BB, 9K, in 5.2 In against RHP Erick Fedde (2-3, 5.12 ERA) he of the 6.00 ERA coming into the game, and 4ER, on 4H, in 5 IN his last outing. Both of those hits came with two outs, and the first H, and BB were by Justin Bour, who of course was pulled for a PR after his BB with one out in the 4th.
You can all guess how that worked out for the Phaillies.
Meanwhile Nick Pivetta (7-12, 4.64) was pitching well until the 5th inning when he, in succession, gave up the first MLB HR to nascent Phillie killer Spencer Keiboom, and the first MLB H to Fedde. That was all for Nick, 4.1 In, 3H, 2R – both earned – 1K, 3BB, 1HR, 91P – 56 for strikes. The second run was allowed by Adam Morgan, on a two out RBI single to Bryce Harper, scoring Fedde.
The Phillies did not get their first H with less than 2 outs until the 8th inning, only their 4th of the game. They still left J.P. Crawford stranded at second. That inning ended on a K of Jose Bautista – their 13th of the game.
Phillies did avoid the shut out in the 9th, on a Carlos Santana BB, a WP, and a two out RBI single by Maikel Franco off LHP closer Sean Doolittle (S23). The game ended fittingly on K #15, It is the 68th time they have wiffed in double digits this season.
Game Two: Soto Seals another tough L
It took awhile – 5 innings to be exact – before the Phillies offense finally awoke.
RHP Tanner Roark (8-15, 4.37) was sailing along, scattering 3H, 2K, oBB thru 4In, when the Phils strung together 7H – four with two outs – and four of those were 2B. When the dust cleared, they had put up a five spot.
The beneficiary of that outburst, at the time, was Jake Arrieta (3.66) who was pulled for a PH during the rally. He had given up 3R, two of them in the 4th on a 2R HR by Juan Soto (17). Soto had also knocked in the first run of the night in the 2nd on his 22nd 2B of the season. Jakes final line – 5In, 3H, 3R – all earned – 7K, 2BB, 1HR, 88P – 54 for strikes.
Phans were starting to feel good about this game when a Bautista Solo shot(12) in the 8th, his first as a Phillie, made it 6-3.
But the Phaillies we have come to know and loath since the start of August, would not let us down.
Manager Gabe Kapler decided to leave Seranthony Dominguez (H13) in for a second inning. This did not work out as well as the moves which helped in the five run outburst. Seranthony could not get that last out and gave up one run, leaving with the bases loaded. Luis Garcia (BS3) then walked in the tying run.
The Phillies would get their first two men on via a BB and a HBP in the bottom of the inning, and had bases loaded with two outs after an IBB, but a Bautista FO sent the game into extras.
In the 10th inning, that Soto kid struck again with a HR (18), and though the Phils would get two men on with 2 out BBs, they phailed once again to extend the game.
FTR Pat Neshek (5) and Edubray Ramos (10) would each get an H, Yacksel Rios (3-2, 5.68) got the L.
For the Nationals. Wander Suero (3-0, 3.24) was the lucky guy to be the last pitcher in the 9th for the W, in .1 inning of work, and RHP Greg Holland earned his 3rd S of the season.
Game Three: Over from start
This game felt over from the 1st inning when Aaron Nola (16-5, 2.42) gave up 3R on 4H, including a 2R no doubter by Bryce Harper (33), and a two out RBI single by Ryan Zimmerman. Those runs felt like an anchor for this offense seemingly stuck in dry dock, even in all this humidity.
That would be all RHP Stephen Strasburg (8-7, 3.87) would need as the Phillies would only manage one run – a HR by Crawford in the 5th – 5H, and 0BB off him, while striking out nine times in 7 innings.
Nola would give up another HR, this one to Zimmerman (13) in the 4th.
Nola’s final Cy Young fading line, would be 5In, 6H, 4R – all earned – 1BB, 5K, 2HR, 74P – 49 for strikes.
The red hot Soto hit his 19th HR off Austin Davis to get to the eventual 5-1 tally.
FWIW:Nola reached 200 Ks, the first Phillies pitcher since 2013 to do that, and just the 13th Phillie overall.
He and the team would gladly trade that milestone for some Ws.
The Phillies used 23 players in the first game, 24 in the second, and still lost both.
I have to put some of the blame on one of my main problems with MLB, September call-ups. Having every player on your 40 man but one – Aaron Loup is on the DL – in the dugout and bull pen, IMHO is not conducive to the kind of team chemistry this team had early when only 25 guys were playing for spots. Kapler, as good as he was with the smaller squad, seemed a bit over his head with this many players. Pulling Bour in the 4th for a PR, after being the only guy to get on base, twice no less, against Fedde, I thought was a symptom of this.
I will not officially say this team is done for 2018 until I see where they are before the first of seven games against the Atlanta Braves – now 7.5 games ahead of them – but it is hard to believe the way they are performing right now that they can make that run. Those two series will be especially tough for a team that appears to be running out of gas. After traveling to ATL, they then visit the Colorado Rockies for four games, and then back home for the final series against Atlanta. That all comes with no off day after yesterday, Thursday the 13th.
At this point their main motivation might be to avoid falling into 3rd place behind the Natinals, who are one game behind – two in the loss column.
The Miami Marlins (57-89) against whom the Phils are 9-7, but 6-1 at CBP, come into town for the weekend. I will be at CBP for the opener, the Phillies are dubbing Halloween Night, when there better be lots of treats for the phans on the field, or they will trick the team right off the field w/ a ghostly BOO!
Miami Marlins @ Philadelphia Phillies
Friday, September 14, 7:05 PM ET , Citizens Bank Park
Wei-Yin Chen, LHP
Saturday, September 15, 7:05 PM ET , Citizens Bank Park
To Be Announced
Sunday, September 16, 1:35 PM ET , Citizens Bank Park