The circus apparently was in NYC this weekend as errors by both the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets made this a non Spaulding Guide Series. Before I get into the games themselves, there was a lot of activity by the team this week.
Goings and Comings:
It’s been a regular hospital ward for the Phillies this week as they made quite a few moves due to injuries and one other reason.
Clay Buchholz had most likely season ending surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm on Tuesday. He could easily be out four to six months which would effectively end his 1 yr $13.5 M commitment to the Phillies. To replace him in the rotation they brought up Zach Eflin. More about him in the game 1 recap below.
Another one year guy, Howie Kendrick, was put on the DL Tuesday, with an abdominal strain which he injured last Saturday. Mark Leiter Jr., 26, who had allowed 1R and got 11 Ks in 5 1/3 innings with AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs was promoted. If he gets in a game he and Mark Leiter Sr., who pitched for the Phillies in 1997 and 1998 would be just the second father-son duo to play for the Phillies. The first of course is Ruben Amaro Sr. (1960-65) and Ruben Amaro Jr. (1992-93 and 1996-98). Kendrick’s injury and a late series sickness bug for Michael Saunders did serve to give other guys like Aaron Altherr, Andrew Knapp, and Daniel Nava a chance for more playing time.
Another player possibly due to visit a hospital, but for a good reason is Pat Neshek who was given Paternity leave. Ben Lively was called up to replace him in the pen.
Both Leiter and Lively would be making their 1st MLB appearances if used.
As one can imagine Ben was a bit excited and gave us this inspirational tweet.
Beat The Mets! Beat The Mets! – Everybody – Step right up and Beat The Mets!
Yes for the 1st time in over a year, your Philadelphia Phillies won a series over the New York Baseball Metropolitans. That last time was 6 series ago on April 8-10, 2016. It was only their third series W against the Mets in the last 18.
Phillies take game 1 with LoLMets help:
Game one was a slow to build affair even with both teams scoring in the 1st inning, and then were shut down until the 8th inning.
The Phillies lone run in the 1st came courtesy of an Odubel Herrera 2 out shot to RCF. Zach Eflin, as noted above getting the start to replace Buchholz in the rotation, was not able to get the SDI, giving up the first of many series RBI’s to Jay Bruce, a 2 run single with one out.
Fast forward to the top of the 8th inning when things got interesting. With two outs and Cameron Rupp on 1st base, Freddy Galvis hit a major league pop-up that he at first thought was going foul and was so frustrated he stood at home plate. Not only did the ball not go foul, Mets third baseman Jose Reyes (playing there for the still injured David Wright) who has shown this season that he is definitely not a MLB 3B, inexplicably dropped it. Rupp reached third, but Freddy never made it past first.
This might have been a dead issue, except that Andres Blanco followed with a ground-rule double. If Galvis had run it out and made it to 2nd base, he would have scored to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Instead, the game was tied.
“It was too late to go to second,” Galvis said. “I know I could have made it. That’s my fault right there. At the moment I felt so bad.”
“I looked at Larry [Bowa] and we were both numb,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin told the 94WIP Morning Show on Wednesday. “That’s so uncharacteristic of Freddy to do that. We couldn’t figure out what was going on. I was more flabbergasted than mad, because he’s just not that kind of a player.” Mackanin did go on to say “He knows exactly what he did,” Mackanin said of the 27-year-old shortstop. “When he came on the bench it looked like he was going to cry because he knows what he did was the wrong thing to do. And there was a couple of players that were kind of getting on him a little bit. Immediately after the game, Freddy came into my office to apologize to me because he knows what he did.”
“When asked about who’s a leader on our team, Freddy always jumps into my mind because of the way he goes about his business,” Mackanin said. “To be perfectly honest with you Angelo and to see the expression on his face, he knows what he did. If it were somebody else perhaps, but with Freddy I think I can give him a pass on that.”
The good news though was that this inning got Eflin off the hook and Galvis would get a chance to redeem himself somewhat with a single in the 10th that followed Rupp’s sacrifice fly and led to the Phillies scoring three insurance runs.
“It was much better,” Galvis said. “But that was my mistake and I hope it never happens again.”
The pen in this game, set the tone for the series where except for one bad inning in game two by Edubray Ramos, they would shut the Mets down, and allowed the Phils to stay in the game to score 4 runs in the 10th and win the opener 6-2. Nava and Altherr, abetted by the 3rd LoLMets error of the game, were involved in the scoring.
This was a game that in the recent past the Phillies would have found a way to lose, but though it is early in the season, it may be a sign that the team is starting to turn things around.
For just being called up Eflins 5In, 3H, 2R, both earned, 3BB, 4K, 0HR, ND in which he threw 85P – 52 for strikes, was about as good an outing as the team could want. Luis Garcia (1-0) pitching 1In , 0H, 1BB, earned the W. Rafael Montero who gave up 4 R, 3 ER, 4H, while getting only one out in the decisive 10th inning, got the L. That 4 run 10th meant no S opportunity.
Game 2 goes to the Mets:
Game 2 started more slowly than the first game, scoring wise and it was not until the 4th and 5th innings where the Phils would score single runs, that the excitement started to build.
In the 4th a productive out by the then struggling Maikel Franco, scored Altherr and moved a runner with one out. Then the next inning Phillies starter Vince Velasquez helped himself with an RBI single, plating Rupp who doubled to start the inning and was moved to 3B by Galvis.
Velasquez would get the 1-2-3 SDI, but the next inning would not go so smoothly. After getting a DP, what looked like another good inning quickly went downhill as after a single and a BB, that Bruce kid struck again with a 3 run laser to RCF to give the Mets a 3-2 lead.
The Phillies would tie it up, scoring once again in the 8th inning on a Saunders PH single scoring Altherr. That got a much improved Velasquez off the hook. In the bottom of the inning the aforementioned only bad BP outing of the series by Ramos, guess who – yes that Bruce guy again – hit a 2 run HR this time to give the Mets a 5-3 lead they would not relinquish. The Phillies did not quite give up, scoring a single run in the 9th on a Nava sac fly, but the rally ended there for a 5-4 final.
Both teams would commit an E, but neither would figure in the scoring.
Velasquez would go a Solid Six for the QS ND, 5H, 3R, all earned, 3BB, 2K, 1 HR, 84P – 54 for strikes showing he can get people out without throwing too many pitches. Hansel Robles (3-0) vultured the win, facing one batter whom he struck out. Ramos (0-2) earned the L, and Addison Reed got S # 4 for the Mets.
Game 3 Franco and LoLMets lead Phillies to Series Win:
The LoLMets (3E once again) and the hopeful awakening of Franco would factor into this game.
As noted above after losing game two and the Mets “Ace” Noah Syndergaard on the hill this certainly looked like yet another losing series for the Phils.
The start of the game only affirmed that feeling as Syndergaard struck out the first three Phillies batters on 14 pitches, only one of which was a ball. He also topped 100 on a few of those pitches. “It looked like he might be having one of his best nights,” said Mackanin after the game.
The new look Phillies though broke through for three runs the next inning. With one out Altherr got things started with a sharply hit single to LF, and then stole 2nd. Tommy Joseph followed with a 2B to score Altherr.
The first of the LoLMets gifts came on what was ruled a single by Galvis and a tough E called on Bruce – it was more a case of Mets 2B Neil Walker who got Syndergaard’s way as he tried to get to 1B to catch the toss. This allowed Joseph to score from 3B, which he reached on an earlier Syndergaard WP. Knapp, getting the start at C, then followed with an Automatic 2B, for his 1st MLB RBI to make it 3-0.
No SDI for Nola, but he did limit the damage to one run as Reyes was knocked in by a a single after one of his few hits this season, and a SB.
The resilient Phillies bounced right back with a two spot the following inning. After Nava was HBP, and Herrera reached on the LoLMets 2nd E, Franco slammed an RBI 2B to LF, breaking an 0-22 slump in a big way, plating Nava, as well as smartly advancing to 3B on the throw. This allowed him to score the eventual GW run, on a GO to 2B by Altherr and the Phils would have a 5-1 lead.
Nola once again could not shut down the Mets after his offense scored, this time it was Walker atoning a bit for his E by depositing a 3 run Hr over the CF wall to cut the lead to 5-4.
Franco would hit his 3rd HR of the season in the 8th off Fernando Salas to give the team a bit more breathing room.
Hector Neris would then come on in the 9th and convert his first S opp of the season for a final score of 6-4 and a 2-1 series win.
Nola gutted out 5In, 7H, 4R, all earned, 4BB, 2K, 1HR, 96P – 61 for strikes for the W. Syndergaard while going 8In, 7H, 5R, 3ER, 10K looked a bit more mortal and was not helped by his d in getting saddled w/ the L. Joely Rodriguez and Joaquin Benoit each got an H, and Neris his 1st S.
“It sure is nice to win a series here against the Mets,” Mackanin said. “It’s always nice to win a series. But against these guys, it was special, as much as they’ve beat us up over the last year.”
It was the 5th straight game the Phillies offense scored in the 8th inning, a very good early season sign.
Phillies went 5-7 in 12 game stretch vs. Natinals and Mets in this early season test for this young team against two of the projected best teams in the NL.
After this game the Phils were the MLB leaders with 4.05 pitches per plate appearance. They ranked 27th last season with 3.81 pitches per plate appearance. Apparently hitting coach Matt Stairs teaching is starting to sink in a bit.
The Atlanta Braves (6-9, 4th NLEast) come to town for a three game set.
Friday 4/21 7:05 RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 1.59 ERA) will face Phillies nemesis RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1, 4.24)
Saturday 4/22 7:05 RHP Jerad Eickhoff (0-1, 2.75 ) Vs LHP Jaime Garcia (0-1, 4.67) I will be in the house for this one.
Sunday 4/23 1:35 The ever popular Phantic’s B-Day will feature RHP Iggy Iguana – er – Zach Eflin (0-0, 3.60) vs RHP Mike Foltynewicz (0-2, 4.26)