The Philadelphia Phillies (37-28, 1st Place NL East) ended this home stand hosting the hot Arizona Diamonbacks (34-32, 3rd Place NL West). AZ had won four in a row, while the Phils just took two out of three from the Cincinnati Reds.
Did I say Arizona was hot?, I should have said En Fuego based on the start of the series, which the Snakes won.
Game One: OuttaHere; OuttaHere; OuttaHere ………………
It was certainly one of the weirder games I have attended and there were some records set, but not the kind the Phils, or I want to remember.
It started with the apparently obligatory rain-delay for me – it was the 3rd out of the seven games I have been to that had one – and then it got weird and ugly, through off and on rain and spittiness.
Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff (3-4, 5.02 ERA) who had given up 11 HRs in his last five starts, seemed to be back on track with only one his last outing, but unfortunately was not.
It did not take long to see that as the first pitch was smoked out to RF. Two batters and twelve pitches later, two more had left the park, as the phans were getting restless.
To his credit he settled down the next two innings, as the Phightin’s clawed their way back to tie the game off of D-Backs RHP Taylor Clarke (1-2, 5.26). Included in there was Jean Segura‘s 9th HR in the first, a Maikel Franco RBI ground out in the 2nd, and then it got weird in the 3rd.
Cesar Hernandez worked a BB to start the inning. With one out Segura hit a ground ball which was originally called a DP, but upon further review, he was called safe so the inning was still alive. With Rhys Hoskins batting Segura was caught stealing…but wait that call was also overturned, so for the second time an inning ending call was overruled. The Phillies have been good this season at capitalizing on breaks and errors, and Rhys continued that with an RBI single.
Unfortunately “Meatball” Eickhoff would return. He could not even record an out in the fourth before a two run HR by Eduardo Escobar (16), and another by Alex Avila (4) ended his sticky night – 3.0 In, 5H, 7R – all earned – 2BB, 2K, 5HR. Both of the leading runs were aboard on walks.
The Diamondbacks were now ahead 7-3, and it never got close after that, as they scored three more times in the 5th, once in the 6th, and twice in the 9th.
The Phils tried to fight back as they would also be hitting some long balls, but all solo shots by Scott Kingery (5,6) making the most out of his playing time, Hoskins (14), and Jay Bruce (19).
In the end, the 13-8 final saw the D-Backs hit 8 dingers – a new club record, and the teams combined for 13, an MLB record. For just one more bit of weirdity, a Nick Williams shot off the top of the LF wall, could have been #14, but was rightly overturned into a 2B. This broke the 12 HR record held by the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox who actually did it twice 5/28/95, 7/2/02. The NL record was 11, done four times.
Even though he was in the lead when he left, Clarke only pitched 3.1 innings so could not get the W. That fell to RHP Zack Godley (3-4, 6.09) who pitched the next 3.2 innings scoreless.
Game Two: Phillies Bounce Back
One of the beauties of baseball is you get nights like Monday, but get to wipe it out and get back at it again the next day.
The Phillies did a good job at doing that, putting up a crooked number early behind Jake Arrieta (6-5, 4.31). Jake needed a good outing after his 5 R in 4.2 innings his last time out. A little help from his offense would be nice too.
They batters took care of that in just the second inning. Even there the strike was comparatively quick. B2B singles started the inning by J.T. Realmuto, and Bruce, off of Arizona RHP Jon Duplantier (1-1, 4.32). Then the man making the most of his playing time, Kingery, did his thingery.
This gave the Phils a 3-0 lead that they would never relinquish. They would add another run on an RBI 2B by Harper (21).
Arrieta meanwhile, was cruising along until the 4th inning when a lead-off double, and a one out BB, set the stage for a 2R 2B by C Carson Kelly (9) to cut the lead in half. Jake let in another run the next inning on a BB, a single and a sac fly, to make the game more interesting at 4-3.
The Phightin’s would answer back in the bottom of the frame.
This time though they had some help from the Diamondbacks D.
With Hoskins on first on a one out BB, Realmuto laced a 2B to LF. A throwing E on the play by LF David Peralta (1) allowed J. T. to get to 3rd, from where he scored easily on a Bruce single. This widened the lead to a more comfortable 6-3.
Arrieta would get the SDI in his last inning of work for a strong 6 IN, 3H – 3R – all earned – 4BB – 5K, 0HR, 105 P – 63 for strikes. The Phils would insure Jake’s W with another tally in the 6th, which Arizona would match in the 7th, a solo HR by CF/2B Ketel Marte (17), off of JD Hammer, who is coming down to earth after his lofty start.
After the game Manager Gabe Kapler singled out Kingery, who had his third HR in two games:
“He’s put in a lot of hard work. We asked a lot of him last year. I just think it’s worth noting that he’s been sensational for us so far this year.”
“I look at my swing from last year and, to be honest, there’s minimal differences,” Kingery said. “I think that it’s all just the confidence coming this year, the approach and the mindset coming up to bat now. I think that’s what’s changed and what’s letting me have good success now.”
Game Three: Speed Ball
To mix metaphors, your Philadelphia Union scored more times on this night than the Phillies did.
To say this was a pitchers night, would be an understatement. There were a combined total of 15.2 In, by the starters, 8H, 2R, 1BB, 14K.
Zach Eflin (6-6, 2.81) gave up those two runs in 5th inning. Three singles to start the inning, of the bloop and Texas League varieties, and then a sac fly did the damage. A DP kept it from being a bigger inning.
Not that it mattered as the Phils were stymied by Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly (7-6, 3.73), and could not bunch anything together, going 0-3 with RISP.
It was a tough L for Eflin who could have kept going but had to be pulled in the 8th for offense – 5H, 2R – both earned – 1BB, 9K, 0HR, 82P – an excellent 51 for strikes. Kelly earned the W, LHP Andrew Chafin H(8), veteran RHP Greg Holland S(10).
But on this night you had to tip your cap to Kelly.
With the last loss of the series, the Phillies fell out of first place in the NL East for the first time since 4/25.
The next 23 games leading up to the All Star Game break are all against NL East clubs with only seven at home. This will be a real test for this club to see if they can get along with the players they have, with hopefully some help coming soon, especially in the bullpen.
This tweet from Tim Kelly of Phillies Nation and 94WIP shows another reason this will be tough few weeks for the Phillies:
This evening, the Phillies will begin their third stretch of 17 games in 17 days this season. The Phillies have existed since 1883. They've never played 17 games in 17 days three times before July.
We will also have to keep a close eye on who they are looking at heading towards the Trade Deadline, which is now the end of July.
They made one move on Thursday acquiring LH hitting utility man Brad Miller from the New York Yankees for cash considerations. He was currently playing for Yankees AAA affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. PhilGosselin was DFA’d to make room for Miller.The Phils will look for him to fill the role that Bruce would have been filling before Andrew McCutchen went on the IL. He has been good against RHP with a career .755 career OPS and also has a .412 career OPS as a pinch-hitter. Also Roman Quinn is reportedly close to being ready so the Phillies will have some decisions to make on the active roster.
The Phillies start a stretch of all NL East , starting with the Atlanta Braves (42 – 29, First Place NL East by 1.5G). The Phillies saw enough of Eickhoff to send him back to the bullpen. They could give Vince Velasquez a start – even as an “opener”, or maybe recall LHP Cole Irvin. At this posting Sunday is still TBD.
At SunTrust Park TV: FSSO, NBC 10, FB-WATCH (out-of-market only)
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.