This is typically the post where I recap the three weekend games in detail. This weekend’s post is going to be a little different. The New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies both Friday and Saturday and New York clinched their wildcard spot on Saturday. Sure, other things happened over those two games, but in the eyes of Philadelphians only one game mattered this weekend: Sunday.
Sunday was more than just the end off a surprisingly promising season for the Phillies, it was the end of an era. We said goodbye to Ryan Howard. Howard has an option for next season which is expected to be bought out. He was the last remaining player from the beloved 2008 World Series championship team. In what was presumably his final game in red pinstripes, Howard started at first base on Sunday, batting fifth.
Jared Eickhoff (11-14; 3.72 ERA) pitched in the season finale and was strong. He pitched six solid innings of one-run baseball. The Phils brought their bats to support their starter. Maikel Franco started off the scoring with an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning. The Mets eventually took a 2-1 lead with an RBI from both Alejandro De Aza and Kevin Plawecki throughout the sixth and seventh inning. That lead didn’t last long as the Phillies put up a three-spot in the bottom of the seventh inning. Andres Blanco scored on a fielding error with Cody Asche batting, Cesar Hernandez had an RBI single, and Jimmy Paredes had a sacrifice fly. The Phillies added an insurance run to make it 5-2 in the eighth inning thanks to an RBI single from Aaron Altherr.
After going 0-4, Howard took first base for the final time in the ninth inning. During warmups, he was greeted by Tommy Joseph to replace him and Howard was praised as he walked off the field. He hugged every teammate in the dugout before giving one last curtain call to the 36,935 fans at Citizens Bank Park. Hector Neris (S,2; 2.61 ERA) came in for the ninth inning and closed out the game, and the season, for the Phillies.
Despite having another losing season, this was more promising than most fans expected. Many predicted the Phillies to come in dead last, not just in the division but in baseball. They fought hard and earned all 71 wins. Hopefully things continue to be on the rise for more seasons to come.
It’s been a pleasure writing your weekend recaps this season and a pleasure to write with my amazing Pattison Ave. family. This is Ali V. signing off for 2016.