Pitching was the story on this night as the Philadelphia Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (5-8, 4.69 ERA) needed to finally show that he is close to the “Ace” moniker some place on him by building on the finishing 4 innings of his last start, back on July, 2nd. He was facing powerful Miami Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (11-4, 2.52). Both of them pitched better than well enough to earn a Win, but each wound up with a No Decision instead because of a rare blown save by Jeanmar Gomez, and the Marlins would eventually win it in 11 innings on a Martin Prado HR. That and the Phillies inability to score off the Marlins Pen led to the loss.
Nola did get through the first inning easily – a trouble spot for him giving up 15 first inning runs, in 17 pitched – so that was a good early sign. Another good sign for the Phillies was taking advantage of the opponent’s mistakes to manufacture a run, when after OBPMachine Odubel Herrera started the inning with a double, he advanced to 3rd on a strike out of Peter Bourjos that got away from the catcher for a bit and scooted over to third on the throw to 1st. It was by rule a Strike Out/Fielder’s Choice, but it looked like a steal to me. A productive out on a ground ball by Maikel Franco brought him home. Nola got the confidence building SDI with the help of a crisp DP that erased a Giancarlo Stanton lead off single.
Both pitchers took over the game for the next 5 innings. While Fernandez was racking up the K’s with his high 90’s FB, and some down breaking off-speed thrown in, Nola was 10 MPH slower but his FB was getting over the plate with good movement, and his mid 70’s curve balls were unhittable.
Nola next gave up a hit in the sixth on a line drive that hit him in the shoulder but he stayed in to finish the inning, and after walking J. T. Realmuto, he got the dangerous Prado to pop out. Because of the blow to the “fleshy part of his arm. He will be fine.” per Pete Mackanin, his night was done, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 5K, 68 pitches – 45 for strikes.
Edubray Ramos would come on to throw a perfect seventh. Tommy Joseph then hit the first pitch in the bottom of the inning- a hanging curve – into deep LCF for what at the time seemed like a big insurance run, and 2 batters later after a walk of Freddy Galvis, Fernandez career tying 14 K night was over, 6.1In, 4H, 2R, both earned, 14K, 2 BB, 104 pitches – 65 for strikes.
Hector Neris did his job in the eighth, but Jeanmar Gomez could not do the same in the ninth as he gave up two runs on 3H, 1BB, for only his third blown save in 28 tries. Bad base running by Yefri Perez and a good throw by Herrara after the tying run scored, to get him trying to take third base, kept this tied into the bottom of the ninth where the Phillies went meekly, to send it into extras.
In the top of the 10th Cody Asche made a lunging catch to save at least one run, but the tie would only hold up long enough for Prado to hit game winning long bomb with one out in the 11th off of Brett Oberholtzer. Maikel Franco just missed a game extending HR off of Marlins closer A. J. Ramos , who held on for his 30th save.
In the end, it was the kind of game that separated the Contenders from the Pretenders as with the W the Marlins took over sole possession of the final Wild Card spot, and the Phillies fell eight games back.
The W would go to Kyle Barraclaugh (6-2, 3.03) and the L to Oberholtzer (2-2, 4.98).
Rare Extra Endings: The Phillies lost their first extra inning game of the season in six tries, and struck out 18 times – a high (low?) for the season. Fernandez had the highest ever strike out total by a starter in under seven innings, against the Phils. He also became the third-fastest pitcher since 1900 to reach 500 strikeouts.
Extra Next Ups: I will be at CBP tomorrow, when it will be , RHP Vince Velasquez (8-2, 3.32) against TBD. I will do some live tweeting then, and will be back here for Wednesday’s game.
- Late Edit: Marlins now announce starting pitcher for Tuesday 07/19/16 will be RHP Jose Urina (1-1, 7.52) – his first start of the season, 10th of his career. Of the few Phillies that have faced him only Tyler Goeddel has a hit off him, which was a HR in one AB.