With their playoff hopes fading by the day, the Philadelphia Phillies (76-73) looked to at least win a second series in a row, after taking two out of three from the Miami Marlins. It would not be so easy against their nemesis lately, the New York Mets (70-80). The Phils were 6-10 against NY coming in and 3-4 at Citizens Bank Park. This series along with the Atlanta Braves, with whom they started as series in Atlanta onThursday, and the St Louis Cardinals would pretty much determine if they had any chance at all.
The Phillies did win that second series – why I reverted the title back – but could not carry that momentum over to the opener in Atlanta.
Game 1: Phillies Come Back Then Fall Back
Jake Arrieta (10-9,3.77 ERA) was not at his sharpest. After working around a one out single in the first inning he began the second giving up a BB, single, 2B, but slithered out of the jam, only giving up one run.
After his only clean inning in the third, and a fourth where he face the minimum due to a CS after a lead-0ff 2B, it started to unravel with only bad base running by the Mets keeping this from being a blow out.
The fifth started with two singles, a sac fly, a 2B, and then another single to put up a three spot. Arrieta was then helped by the aforementioned Mets miscue on the bases as Todd Frazier was out trying to stretch a single to a double. Then Jake was able to get a K to end the inning.
It would also be the end of his night – 5In, 9H, 4R – all well earned – 6K, 1BB, 81P – 61 for strikes – as he was lifted in the bottom of the inning for a PH.
This move worked out well for him as the Phightin’s, who had only a BB off of RHP Zack Wheeler (W 12-7, 3.31) through the first four innings, finally woke up in the fifth.
The outburst started with a single by Wilson Ramos, followed by another one an out later by Nick Williams. A HBP of Odubel Herrera set up
It was J. P. Crawford‘s second 3B of the season, third of his career.
But they did not stop there as Cesar Hernandez got Arrieta off the hook with a sac fly.
While it was nice to see a come back, something they did often earlier in the season, the joy did not last long, as two innings later the Mets scratched out a run off of Tommy Hunter (L 4-3, 3.60) to make it 5-4.
That was all they needed to win this one, when the Phillies were held scoreless by Wheeler and the Mets pen. NY would score four times in the ninth, making the final 9-4.
Game Two: Phillies Come Back Then Stay Ahead
Phillies Twitterers were all aflutter when right before the game the news got out the Rhys Hoskins had signed with Scott Boras. This was news because he is also the agent of Bryce Harper. Does not take much these days to get tweeters excited, see Gordon, Josh / Eagles.
Meanwhile on the field the UnClutchables opened the game loading the bases on BBs, and not scoring, though the last two did come with two outs.
The Mets would once again score first, on a LHP Steven Matz (5-11, 4.03) HR – the second game in a row he has gone yard – in the third, and an RBI 2B by Domonic Smith (9) an inning later.
Aaron Nola (16-5, 2.44) would settle down after that.
Much like game one, they came back, but this time it would come all off the Mets pen as Matz left after 5, though he had only given up 2H, 4K, 5BB, 91P – 54 for strikes. September call-up time at its finest to pull a pitcher who had the opponent stymied.
Nola also would not be around to be the beneficiary of the Phils come back, but his pitch count was too high, 5.2In, 6H, 2R – both earned – 9K, 2BB, 1HR, 104P – 69 for strikes. He pitched well enough to deserve a W.
Thee 6th inning started as most Phillies rallies do, with a BB, this time to Carlos Santana, After a HBP of Aaron Altherr, back to back PH by Ramos and Justin Bour, each knocked in a single run. Then the big blow:
Jorge Alfaro‘s 10th of the year.
The Pen would hold the rest of the way so your final score is 5-2.
Pat Neshek (3-1, 1.21) would get the W. Hs went to Seranthony Dominguez (14), and Hunter (25). Hector Neris got his first S(11) in awhile, the last one being on 6/16/18.
RHP Drew Smith got the double whammy of a BS (1), and the L (1-1, 2.92).
In his next outing, Nola will hit the 200 inning milestone, 199⅓ right now. His AVG is .201
“It speaks to durability,” Kapler said. ” Piling up 200 innings is a huge accomplishment.”
Game Three: Phillies Go Wire to Wire
Even though the Mets had their ‘Ace” RHP Noah Syndergaard (L 12-4, 3.36) going against Zach Eflin(W 11-7, 4.09 ), this would be nothing like the first two games.
Hoskins set the tone early with this solo shot (32) to RCF in the 1st.
As usual @M_Montemurro was quick to add this factoid.
Herrera added on to the lead with a 2R Rainbow to RF (22) in the 4th.
Syndergaard was PH for the next inning, saving him for his next meaningless start? – 4In, 4H, 3R – all earned – 6K, 3BB, 2HR, 89P – 54 for strikes.
Eflin outlasted Syndergaard, but only for one more inning. He ended it nicely striking out Michael Conforto for his ninth of the night, and his second SDI. 9Ks tied his career high. His final line was 5In, 3H, 0R, 9K, 3BB, 94P – 58 for strikes,
The Phils tacked on another in the 5th on a PH RBI 2B by Jose Bautista.
Like the night before the pen did its job cementing the Combined 4-0 SO. It was the teams 11th SO of the season.
Game 4: Offense died and pen could not hold on.
The Phillies started the make or break series in Atlanta playing them even through the first six innings.
It was a see-saw game in those first three innings as the Phils took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI GO by Santana, only to have the Braves score twice in the bottom of the inning. The first of a few errors that do not appear on the board led to the second run as it scored during a sloppy run-down between first and second, allowing a man score from third on a double play.
The Phils then put up a two spot of their own an inning later on a succession of two out RBI singles by Herrara and Alfaro.
But the Braves then tied it up in the bottom to bring the teeter-totter back to level.
The two teams would go the next three innings scoreless.
The decisive run would come in the seventh inning, when the pen finally cracked after two very good games.
Hunter (L 4-4, 3.67) gave up back to back 2B to Dansby Swanson (25) and Lucas Duda (14), which would be all Atlanta would need to move the Phils NL East Elimination # to four.
Atlanta would ice it though scoring four times off Luis Garcia the next inning to make the final 8-3.
On top of sloppy play in the field and some “interesting” defensive alignments, the Phils would only get three more hits after the third inning. RHP Kevin Gausman (10-10, 3.93) whose 6.1In, 5H, 3R- all earned – 7K, 2BB, was not quite long enough to get the win. That would go to former Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle (6-1, 2.74) who got the last two outs in the seventh.
Only a strike out of the batter before him to end the second, allowed Vince Velasquez to go three, 5H, 3R – all earned – 3K, 1BB, 57P – 37 for strikes. Manager Gabe Kapler was determined to use his whole pen and the rest of the 40 man roster to win this one, he used 19 players including eight pitchers, but it was not to be.
It has been awhile since I have commented on Carlos Santana. Even during the lean offensive times of late, he has consistently been increasing his output. He reached base all four times with two singles and two walks,Tuesday, 1-2 2BB Wednesday, He’s up to .231/.356/.421 on the season.
Hoskins career HR # 50 on Wednesday made him the second fastest Phillie to reach that milestone, behind Ryan Howard 192/182. It was also the seventh fastest in MLB history per Elias Sports.
The Phils finish the four game series in Atlanta. By the end of this series we should know whether the Phils are done, or if the Chip and a Chair are still in play.
It’s not over until you see that E next to your club on the standings.
Philadelphia Phillies @ Atlanta Braves
Friday, September 21, 7:35 PM ET , SunTrust Park
Julio Teheran, RHP
Saturday, September 22, 1:05 PM ET , SunTrust Park
Barring a miracle like the Phillies winning all but two and the Braves doing the reverse, this may very well be my last Phriday post of the season.
Depending on what the Phillies do and when, after their season is done, I will return to my ICYMI Monday posts.
Whatever happens, it has been a remarkable season for this youngest club in MLB, as well as new manager Kapler. They exceeded my expectations, and I look forward to the moves in the off-season that they will come to make this a true contender.
Meanwhile I will be devoting more time to the Philadelphia Union. I will be covering the game on Saturday from Talen Energy Stadium, as well as live tweeting and recapping Wednesday’s US Open Cup Final at the Houston Dynamo.
Make sure to follow all the action on @PattisonAvenue