Phillies Fall to Jake Arrieta and the Cubs Bats 5-1 to Start Series

ap-phillies-carlos-ruiz_2Two – due last nights rain out – nights after your Philadelphia Phillies  were the 1st team to officially be eliminated from postseason  – a game so sparsely attended (15,241 announced but maybe 10k at the most including 60+ dogs and their owners) that me and my game buds Phil and Eric were urged to move down to a lower level by the ushers – they looked to bounce back against the Wild Card contender Chicago Cubs. It promised to not be an easy task against RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP who had not given up an ER in his last four starts – one a no-no against Arizona – and at least 7 k’s in each of those starts. The good news is the last team to beat Jake was the Phillies on July 25th when they where one of the hottest teams in baseball. Ryan Howard hit a 3 run shot that game helping rumor magnet Cole Hamels to a 5-0 win.

Adam Morgan, LHP walked his 1st batters since August 8th his last time out against the Boston Red Sox giving up 6 runs in 6.1 innings.

So they played an old school TwiNite DH – I have fond memories of these including seeing the Great Wallenda walk across the Vet, and another where Scott Rolen won the 1st game w/ a HR and helped win the 2nd late Phillies/Marlins 7/24/98 Game 1 Phillies/Marlins 7/24/98 Game 2 (but I digress) – on a beautiful day/night for baseball.  I will cover the 1st while my colleague Ali Van Norden covers the rest of the weekend as usual.

Phillies got on the board 1st in the 2nd as Aaron Altherr (3) blasted an o-2 pitch over the 387 sign in LCF – Arrieta’s 1st HR given up since that July 25th loss. Morgan gave up his 1st hit the next inning but sandwiched that by striking out the side for a smooth SDI.

After trading 0’s for the next few innings the Cubs bats finally solved Morgan in the 5th for 2 runs to take the lead, on a single and 2 doubles, all w/ 2 outs.

The Cubs chased Morgan the next inning after 2 lead-off singles. Hector Neris came on and gave up a walk, and then a double to add 2 more to Morgan’s line – 5 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs- all earned, one walk and 5 K’s.

Thus far it was an unusual scoring night for the Cubs who had the leagues worst team batting avg (by .003  over{?} the Mets), but do most of their damage w/ HRs, 3rd in the league and 7th in runs scored. They followed that script in the 7th when Starlin Castro (8) hit a 2 out solo shot off Neris to make it 5-1.

Meanwhile Arrieta just kept sailing along as he had recently scattering a few hits and a couple walks, but the team I took to calling The Unclutchables last season when all the $$$$ talent was having some of their worst years, kept living down to that moniker tonight and the last couple series, as they just could not get the big hit when needed. He was finally pulled after the 8th giving up only the one early HR, 6 hits, 2 walks and reached 7 K’s once again, lowering his ERA to a Cy Young worthy 1.99.

Justin Grimm came on for Chicago and had little problem ending this one.

Arrieta improves to 19-6 and another L goes on the books for Adam Morgan, now 5-6.

 

Notes:

Ryan Howard is now 0-33 – the longest slump of his career. He did reach base following a review, beating out a DP ball in the 4th, and like the last Braves game hit the ball hard but at people, but he also had a poor looking K as the last batter to face Arrieta in the 8th.

On the positive offensive side Altherr’s HR was his 10th XBH in 80 plate appearances since being promoted from Triple-A.

Arrieta reached 200 strikeouts, the first Cubs pitcher to reach 200 since Jeff Samardzija totaled 214 in 2013.

Game 2 will feature Kyle Hendricks – the Phillies are the last NL team he has not faced – against the Rookie Alec Asher who needs to prove he is a better pitcher than his 1st two starts giving up 11 ER in 9.1 innings if he wants to get a shot at making this club next season.

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