After a sweep of the Colorado Rockies, to end the home stand, the Philadelphia Phillies (27-19, First Place NL East) took a trip to the Midwest starting with a four game set against the Chicago Cubs (27-17, First Place NL Central).
It was not easy, but in the end, it was a split, for two evenly matched and good ball clubs.
Game 1: Phillies get 1st W when down going into the 9th inning of the season:
A game that the Phillies led at one point 3-1, and Phillies starter Jake Arrieta (4-4, 3.77 ERA) pitching a spotty but effective 6 In, 8H, 1R – earned – 2BB, 4K, 99P – 62 for strikes, blown saves by each team sent this one into extras.
Most of the talk leading up to this game was the return of Arrieta to Chicago for the first time since leaving for the Phils. He did receive this nice ovation when he came to the plate in the 3rd inning.
The Cubs starter RHP Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.06) was the guy who ostensibly replaced him.
Darvish had a rough start to the season, but he was in form on this night, at least through the first five of his six innings, only giving up two singles to the hot swinging Cesar Hernandez.
It looked like the Cubs were about to take a two run lead in the bottom of the 5th, after loading the bases on a 2B, BB and a single with one out, when we saw the defensive side of Bryce Harper, that was supposed to be the weakest part of his game:
As often happens after not scoring with the bases loaded, the opposition comes back to score.
The Phightin’s did just that.
Andrew McCutchen started the inning with a BB. He was replaced at first on a FC by Jean Segura. Harper followed with a BB. Then with a Rhys Hoskins popup for the second out sending the inning toward another UnClutchable adventure, J.T. Realmuto, more on him later, singled to score Segura, and the game was tied at 1.
But the Phils were not done as Hernandez then laced a 3B (2) to score Harper and Realmuto to make it 3-1 Phils.
This would not be his best move of the season as after two walks and a sacrifice bunt, Daniel Descalso got his first 3B of the season, to not only tie the game at 3, but he would also score on an E by Segura to give them a 4-3 lead. This would be BS #1 of the game, and Dominguez’ second of the season.
Fortunately the Cubs would return the favor the next inning, when a Segura single would score Maikel Franco, who doubled (9) with two outs in the inning. The pitcher of record for BS #2 would be RHP Brad Brach.
Hector Neris, came on and shut down the Cubs to send this one to the 10th, where with two out and a 1-2 count, the “best catcher in baseball” untied it with this blast:
In the bottom frame Adam Morgan, would get the first out, and then Juan Nicasio the final two for his 1st S as a Phillie.
Neris (1-1, 1.77) would get the W, and LHP Kyle Ryan(0-1, 4.80) the L. Morgan would notch his 11th H.
Game 2: Mirror Ball
Except for having a lot less scoring, this game was a mirror image of the opener. Once again both teams had a blown save, but this one ended up in the Brewers favor.
Zach Eflin (5-4, 2.76) pitched well enough to win this game, giving up only one run in a tough first inning, on a single and three BB’s. From his final line of 6In, 6H, 4BB, 2K, 104P – 62 for strikes, you can see how he settled down after that.
Even better though was Cubs starter Jose Quintana (4-3, 3.30), who also went 6, but only allowed 2H, 3BB, 4K, 100P – 59 mostly unhittable strikes.
But even then the Phils do what they do best, driving up the pitch count so he was PH for in the bottom of the 6th.
The Phightin’s jumped on reliever RHP Carl Edwards (H3) for a single and a double. Then with two outs McCutchen singled off of RHP Brandon Kinsler, so he got saddled with BS #1 of the game, and also his first of the season.
In the 9th though Nicasio, who looked so good the night before, could only get one out before giving up a BB, then a 2B. A FC, that was close enough to be reviewed scored the tying run. The out or not would not have mattered as PH Javier Baez walked it off with a single.
Nicasio went from Hero to Goat in this one get a BS(1) and the L to go to 0-2, 4.09 ERA. LHP Kyle Ryan (1-1, 4.60) was the beneficiary of that for the W.
The 2008 nostalgia engine was in full bore as the battle of the Cole’s saw the first time the Phillies would face NLCS and WS MVP LHP Cole Hamels (4-2, 3.38).
The Phils would take a lead in game three with a single run in the 1st, and 2 out, RBI 2B by Realmuto (11), and two in the 3rd on two RBI singles by Hoskins and Hernandez.
Cole Irvin (2-1, 5.60) after two good starts, was not very sharp on this night, and gave the three right back the next half inning. It happened quickly on B2B singles and then a Anthony Rizzo Hr (12).
Irving looked like he was back under control on the 4th, but not so much in the 5th.
A walk followed a one out 2B. Then just when it looked like he may get out of the jam by getting the 2nd out, Cole gave up another BB, which set the stage for an Albert Amora GS (5) to make it 8-3 Brewers.
Both Cole’s were now done for the night. Hamels would get a ND as again the Phils drove up a hurler’s pitch count so 4In, 9H, 3R – all earned – 2BB, 6K, 0HR, 99P – 64 for strikes. Irving would last .2In longer, but a lot worse where it counted, 7H, 7R – all earned – 3BB, 6K, 2HR, 84P – 50 for strikes.
The Phils would only manage one more run on McCutchen’s 7th HR of the season in the 8th inning, for the final of 8-4.
Game 4: Never A Doubt
Those watching did not know it early but the Finale would turn out to be one of those wild Wrigley Field games where you needed to have your angina pills and oxygen handy to help you recover.
Much like the night before the Phils would take the early lead. They started with two in the 1st, on a single and a WP.
In the 3rd, after a sac fly by Hoskins, Realmuto hit this one onto Waveland Ave to put the Phils up 4-0
They would make it 7-0 the next inning, the big blow a Jean Segura 2R HR (5)
All those runs came off of LHP Jon Lester (3-3, 2.68), though only 4 would be earned on 7H, 1BB, 5K, in 4In.
Aaron Nola (5-0, 4.53) would hit a speed bump after getting that lead, which of course started with walking the lead batter. A 2B, two singles and another walk, followed by a RBI double play, and it was 7-3 after four.
The Phils tacked on another in the 5th, which as it turned out was the winning run at 8-3.
After a hard single and then one out into the 6th, Kapler felt like he had seen enough of Nola and set his line at 5.1 In, 4H, 3R – all earned – 4BB, 6K, 0HR, 893P – 56 for strikes. As it turned out it took two more pitchers to make sure no more runs went against Aaron.
Then came the watching behind your hands part of the game as the Cubs would score three times in the 7th on a 2R HR by Kyle Schwarber (7), and then a solo shot by Rizzo (13) to make it a less comfortable 8-6.
The still phightin’s got one back in the top of the 8th on a McCutchen RBI 2B (10).
Even at 9-6 in the 9th you had to keep the pepto handy as the Cubs would bring the tying run to the plate with no outs off of Neris who got the last out in the 8th.
A one out 2B by Tyler Chatwood (1) would make it 9-7, and put runners at 2nd and 3rd with one out.
Neris would then K Addison Russel and induce a FO to McCutchen to end the game and earn his 8th S of the season.
Segura would extend his hit streak to 14 games. He certainly has been the steadiest of the off-season pick-ups.
Hernandez had a six game streak snapped, three of those multi-hit games, keeping his BA at .304.
The Phillies have a penchant for taking advantage of other team’s errors and mistakes as still a good part of their runs are coming via that route. That can be just as important in making a good team as doing it all yourself, especially with the close game they have been playing lately against very good teams.
That being said, an offensive explosion for a laugher would be nice once in a while.
The Phillies would take a short trip to face the Milwaukee Brewers (29-22, 2nd Place NL Central), who totally outplayed them a week ago at CBP.
Fri, May 24 • 8:10 PM EDT At Miller Park TV: NBCSP, FSWI
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.