The Colorado Rockies came to town at 31-34, which promised to be a bit of a break in the tough June schedule for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The opener was a closer than it needed to game, but then the teams traded easy wins, for a 2-1 win in the end.
Game 1:Come From Ahead Victory
What looked like was going to be a fairly easy victory for the Phillies most of the game, turned into a 9th inning nail-biter.
The Phils would score early in a big way when Scott Kingery blasted a 3R HR (3) to LCF in the bottom of the 1st.
It was 167 AB’s since his last last HR on 4/10. He would go on to tie his career high 4 RBIs with a sac fly in 3rd that was almost a hit in short CF.
Meanwhile Aaron Nola (8-2, 2.27) was doing his Ace thing throwing strikes at will, striking out the side in the second, and added two more in the 3rd. Nola’s 1st three ball count of the night came with one out in the 4th inning.
Rockies RHP Jon Gray (6-7, 5.68) after the 3rd inning, was also baffling the Phillies hitters who would not get another run off of him in 6In, 3H, 10K, 4BB, 1HR, 108P – 62 for strikes.
Nola got his last K by painting the bottom of the zone and Kapler then pulled him after, 6.2In, 4H, 0R, 10K, 0BB, 108P – 76 for strikes, with a man on 1st and 3rd still his responsibility. Edubray Ramos let in one on the first pitch, but got the next batter, to seal Aaron’s line at 1R – earned.
This was Nola’s fifth 10K+ outing of his career, with three coming in the last five weeks. He has also given up 2 ER or less this season in 11 of his 14 starts.
Can you say Ace, Boys and Girls?
The Phillies would tack on what turned out to be an all-important insurance run in the 8th when Jesmuel Valentin singled in Odubel Herrera. Herrera’s AB was certainly an interesting one during a period of struggle for the CF.
The phun began when in the 9th, trying his hardest to save the arm of Seranthony Dominguez, Manager Gabe Kapler called on Luis Garcia. That plan went awry as he could not get anybody out, giving up 4 solid singles. Eventually Kapler had to go with Seranthony, who would let in two IR on a single and a sac fly, but ended the madness with a K looking.
It was not easy in the phans, but a 5-4 W is a W, and it was also their 1st b2b wins since 5/16-17.
Dominguez would get his third save, and Ramos (6) and Tommy Hunter (9) would each get a H. Gray took the L.
Game 2:Jesmuel Valentin Show Only Bright Spot
If not for one Jesmuel Valentin, this would have been a night the club would rather forget.
The first inkling that it would be a tough night for the Phillies offense, but a milestone night for the aforementioned Valentin was when he got the Phillies 1st hit of the night, a 2B – his 1st MLB XBH – in the 3rd, no outs, but he never got past 3B.
Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (4-1, 4.48) except for Jesmuel, easily handled the Phils hitters in his 7 In of 6H, 1R – earned on a HR (more on that later) – 6K, 0BB, 104P – 74 for strikes.
Colorado’s offense made it easy for him to pitch with a 4th inning outburst that would kill Phillies starter Nick Pivetta‘s (4-6, 4.25) chances for a W.
The following all happened to start the inning: BB, bunt to 3B while shift was on, 2B, single (to 2nd on futile throw home), and a HR by Ian Desmond (12) added up to 5R off Pivetta. Nick did give up a single after the HR, but managed to get out of the inning, and come back to pitch the top of the 5th, with no more damage, but it was already 6-0, and Anderson was stifling the Phils.
Pivetta was PH for in the 5th, so his disappointing line ended at 8H, 6R – all well earned – 5K, 3BB, 1HR, 91P – 56 for strikes.
The Phillies would get their one R off of Anderson on a Jorge Alfaro (5) Rainbow to RF.
The Jemuel Valentin show would not be stopped though as he got his second 2B of the night in the 7th, and then this with two outs in the 9th:
His first career HR, to end a night that elicited this tweet from the inestimable Jayson Stark:
That made the final 7-2.
Game 3:Bounce Back Breakout Game to Win the Series:
The team took awhile, but eventually they would pay Colorado back for the night before.
Except for solo shots by Rhys Hoskins (8) and Nick Williams (8) Rockies starter RHP German Márquez (4-7, 5.13) was holding the Phils at bay.
But the real pitching story of the night would start to slowly unfold as Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.74) was getting one batter out after another, but not exactly doing it efficiently. His first four Ks all came with full counts, and he ran numerous full and 3 ball counts all night. Still except for a BB in the 2nd to Gerardo Parra, which was then erased on a pick-off – which had to be determined by an overturned safe call – Vince kept to the minimum inning after inning.
The Phillies would add another run in the 6th on an RBI 2B by Williams (2) to make it 3-0.
Even with that added cushion the tension for us in the ballpark, rose with Velasquez’ pitch count, as he was now coming into the 7th inning already having thrown 85P. We could see – but could not say 😉 – that Vince had not given up a hit, but it was also obvious that he would not go nine innings.
Vince would get the first two outs, but then a BB to Carlos Gonzalez, and a 2B to Trevor Story (16) would break the NH bid and the SO as well. It would also be the end of Velasquez night, earning two nice ovations, one after the hit, and an even bigger one walking back to the dugout saluting his 6.2In, 1H, 2R – both earned (the second let in by Hunter), 6K, 2BB, 105P – 61 for strikes eventual winning effort.
The turning point of this game came the next inning as the team bounced back with a 4R outburst that would turn out only to be the beginning of an offensive output not seen since mid-may.
The Phillies would load the bases with no outs, on two singles and a BB, as Márquez was showing signs of tiring. This was helped along by a 9P AB by Cesar Hernandez that looked like a wasted out on a weak FO to short RF.
We have seen this team struggle so often in these situations lately that what followed was a real treat for the phans to see and something much needed by the team.
The scoring started on a PB that allowed Andrew Knapp to score with Hoskins at the plate. Rockies C Tony Wolters would argue that it was tipped, but the umpire said no. A Hoskins 2B to LCF scored Kingery. Herrera then singled to knock in J.P. Crawford, and a Carlos Santana single plating Hoskins, finished off the 4R inning.
They would tack on two more to make the final 9-2.
Between the honoring of almost HOF’er Jim Thome, a thrill to see the American Icon Chuck Yeager doing the 3B change thing after the 3rd inning, flirting with a no hitter and and offensive outburst, it was a great way to end the series for the players and phans alike.
On the offensive front the 2,3,4,5, and 7 hitters each had at least two hits. Nice to see that out of more than one or two players in a lineup that has not been hitting much lately. It was only the second time they have had 10 hits in a game since 5/17, the last one coming on 5/29. The 9R are the most they have scored since 5/19, where they scored 7. It was the most they scored since 5/9 – 11R.
Matt Gelb was the first to alert us on-line that the Phils were wearing their cream jerseys and blue helmets for Tuesday night’s game because the league’s vendors have not delivered a red double-flapped helmet for Rhys Hoskins. He followed up on that a bit later:
As a Prostate Cancer Survivor and now 6+ years C-Free, I want to take this opportunity with Fathers Day this weekend to thank MLB for their Home Run Challenge promotion. This raises much needed money for research by the Prostate Cancer Foundation. 81 cents of every dollar donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation goes toward finding a cure. I also urge all men of a certain age to get tested, as early detection probably saved my life, as it has many others. #DontFearTheFinger
The Phillies take a quick mid-west road trip to face the ML best Milwaukee Brewers (41-27, 1st Place, NL Central) for the weekend three game set.
Philadelphia Phillies @ Milwaukee Brewers
Friday, June 15, 8:10 PM ET , Miller Park
Brent Suter, LHP
Saturday, June 16, 4:10 PM ET , Miller Park