Returning home from a successful Mid-West road trip culminating in a series win against the Kansas City Royals, the Philadelphia Phillies (23-16, First Place NLEast ) hosted the Milwaukee Brewers ( 24-18, Second Place NL Central) for a four game set.
Despite the rare opening game W, this was a series the Phillies would rather forget, losing the next three in decidedly not Spaulding Guide fashion.
Game 1: Game Good Teams Find A Way To Win
If I told you that Aaron Nola (3-0, 4.86 ERA) would only go three innings, giving up 3R on 5H, 3BB, 3K, on 84P – 50 for very hittable strikes, and then the next inning LHP Austin Davis would load the bases with no outs, already having given up a run, and, Bryce Harper would go 0-4, 3Ks, 3 LOB, you would say this was the makings of a blow-out L.
That would be incorrect, Sir.
As the header said, this would be one of those games a good team finds a way to come out on top.
It helped that Davis would work his way out of the jam by inducing a DP with outs at home and third, then a ʞ to end that threat.
Earlier a foreshadowing that this would be their night, came in the 2nd inning when the Brewers D would allow the Phillies to tie it up. It started when Cesar Hernandez, more on him later, started the inning with a single. One out later Maikel Franco also singled, moving Cesar to third. A wild pitch by Milwaukee starter RHP Freddy Peralta (2-1, 6.16) moved Franco to second. That was when the phun began.
Nola hit a ball to SS Orlando Arcia that would have scored Cesar anyway, as the only play was to first. The break for the Phillies was that 1B Eric Thames did not catch the ball, which allowed Franco to score as well.
The Phils would tie it up again in the 5th inning, on a two out 2R HR by that Hernandez (4) kid who was on his way to a 2/3 3R, 2RBI, 1BB, 1K night to get to .306 BA.
The Phils pen would go five innings without giving up another run while the Phightin’s put this one away with a three run 7th inning. J.T. Realmuto (1) and Odubel Herrera (2) did the RBI damage, in an inning that started with a WP K that allowed Jean Segura to reach first. That would get us to the final of 7-3 Red Caps.
LHP Adam Morgan (2-1, 1.26) would be the benefit of the 7th inning to get the W. Brewers RHP Matt Albers who gave up the WP K (2-2, 4.50) got stuck with the L. Pat Neshek (2) earned a rare Phillies S. The Phillies are tied for 21st in MLB with nine saves, 24th with 12 SVO.
Game 2: Game Not Great Teams Don’t Win
For the second night in a row the Phillies fell behind early, but this time could not match the Brewers behind RHP Brandon Woodruff (6-1, 3.72) who had the hitters handcuffed, with 1H, over 6In, 0R, 5BB, 5K, 94P – 58 for strikes.
Meanwhile Jerad Eickhoff, proved he is only human on a night he would rather forget.
After an easy 1-2-3 inning to start the game, the 2nd inning was the exact opposite, going single, single, then a 3R blast by Brewers C Yasmani Grandal (7). The next inning was not much better,CF LorenzoCain (13) 2B and a BB. A CS of of Cain trying to take 3rd at least got an out. But Citizens Bank Park lover LF Ryan Braun parked a 2R ball over the CF wall for a 5-0 Milwaukee lead.
Eickhoff would only go 4In, 8H, 5R – all earned – 2BB, 2K, 2HR, 87P – 52 for strikes in the loss. Each pen would give up a run in the 8th for the eventual final score of 6-1.
On a positive note, despite Harper putting up another 0-fer, accompanied by a few boos, he has shown us a defensive side lately that was not quite expected. He made a game saving diving catch on Monday with bases loaded two out in the 7th, and then had these two gems in this one:
The Brewers top prospect 2B Keston Hiura No. 15 overall in MLB, made his MLB debut in this game, going 2/3 and a BB.
Game 3: Arrieta is “Flat” And Not Uplifted By Phillies Defense or Offense
This game had enough blame to spread around as Manager Gabe Kapler noted post game:
“I think we didn’t play a good game from most angles. I don’t think we played very good defense, didn’t take advantage of good scoring opportunities and didn’t pitch as good as we can. From every angle, it wasn’t a crisp game.”
The 3rd inning was the perfect example of this. It started with one of the biggest no-nos in NL baseball, Jake Arrieta (4-4, 4.02) walking the Brewers starter LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-0, 1.69) he of the lusty .092 liftime BA. Another BB and a single later to load the bases, insanity ensued.
Braun hit a hard grounder to 3B Sean Rodriguez, whereupon Gonzalez, broke for home and then stopped. This seemed to totally confuse Rodriguez, who instead of just stepping on 3rd and then going home, froze. Gio then headed home where that was the only out they got. Conceivably they could have even gotten a triple play, but instead the bases were still loaded with one out.
Instead of doing what top of the rotation starters should do, Arrieta proceeded to BB in a run. A single later it was 4-1 Brewers. The Phillies never recovered.
The bottom of the inning Arrieta would start by singling, but the next two batters could not even move him over. Even a Harper 2B could not score Jake, and the inning ended with a Hoskins FO.
This was a pattern for the night as the Phils would go 1-6 with RISP, while outhitting Milwaukee 9-7. The only two runs they scored were on a Segura HR (3), and and RBI single by Andrew McCutchen in the 7th, to make the final score 5-2.
Gonzalez pitched just long enough (5.1In, 7H, 1R – earned – 1BB, 3K, 1HR, 87P – 53 for strikes) to get yet another W against the Phils – they have to be happy he is no longer in the NL East. Arrieta well earned the L going 6In, 5H, 5R – 4 earned – 4BB, 5K, 0HR, 107P – 63 for strikes.
About the only positive again, was that the Pen gave the team a chance to come back, not giving up a run, but the offense never took advantage.
Game 4: Blow-Out Ensues
The matinee finale started out looking like it was going to be a last AB type of game as the teams traded HRs in the first.
The Segura HR (4) was his second first inning dinger in a row.
After Milwaukee went back in front in third, the Brewers helped the Phils to take the lead. After a McCutchen BB, Harper hit into what should have been an easy FC. Instead a fielding and throwing E made it 2nd and 3rd, no outs. The Phils were able to capitalize w/ a GO, and a Sac Fly to take the lead. The only shortcoming is that it had the makings of a bigger inning, but once again they could not get a H with RISP.
Unfortunately Zach Eflin (5-4, 2.89) , could not keep up the momentum from his last three starts, two of them CGs.
The Brewers would get single runs off of him the next two innings, driving up his pitch count and he was done after 5In, 7H, 4R – all earned – 2BB, 7K, 1HR, 90P – 59 for strikes, with a 5-3 deficit.
Unfortunately the UnClutchables were back in the Phillies batter’s box as they had 2nd and 3rd, one out in the bottom of the 5th inning, but a DP ended that threat.
On this day the pen was not as good as they had been earlier this series, giving up multiple runs in every inning from the 7th on, for the eventual 11-3 drubbing.
The benefit of all this scoring was RHP Zach Davies (5-0, 1.54) as he went 6In, 4H, 3R – 1 earned, 1BB, 5K, 1HR, 92P – 55 for strikes for the W.
The Phillies would go 4-27 with RISP, 25 LOB for the series, and a good chunk of the runs were gifts from the Brewers.
McCutchen summed up the series well:
“If you don’t do your job, you’re going to get your butt kicked. That’s plain and simple. You play good ball and you win. We can all agree here that we didn’t play our best baseball and in return, we got our butts kicked.”
On the Posidelphian side, this is the first series the Phils have lost in three weeks going back to the 4/22-4/24 1/3 in NYC. The three games before that was the last time they lost three in a row.
That being said I can’t help but quote my own tweet posted while witnessing the Matinee Massacre unfold yesterday at CBP
The @Phillies just do not have "It" right now. When you look at the last few games most of their runs have been scored with the other team"s help. That cannot continue if they want to contend. #LetsGoPhillies
— 🌊 #IWBIWISI #NoWarInIran☮️ #DontTweetIm🍑 (@brett5355) May 16, 2019
The Colorado Rockies (20-22, 4th Place NL West ) come to town for the weekend. After that the Phillies go back to the Midwest to face the Chicago Cubs and these Brewers again to end this tough stretch of 17 games without a break.
Though I was born a few blocks from what was to be the NY Worlds Fair/Shea Stadium/Forrest Hills Complex, my parents saved me from being a NY fan by moving to Elkins Park in 1955, when I was 6 months old. I have been living and dying w/ Philly sports teams ever since. Now over 60 , I bring an older, but hopefully not stodgy, spin to this blog. By day I am a mild mannered controller/IT guy for a family business, but by night you will either find me @ CBP at least 17 games a season, and most other nights yelling at my tv as if they can hear me. Though I attend many other local sports, my main love has always been baseball, and my focus here is the Phillies, but I am also part of the team covering the Philadelphia Union.