The Philadelphia Phillies (67-62, 3rd Place NL East, WCB 1.5) looked to rebound from another series phail against a far inferior team, the Miami Marlins (47-82, Last Place, E#1), coming off a sweep. They would have to do that against another going nowhere team in the Pittsburgh Pirates (55-75, Last Place NL Central, E#17) who have also given them trouble recently.
Like the ubiquitous Septa commercials, this series was a Wild Ride, more akin to a roller coaster, than a public transit vehicle.
At least the series clincher was like arriving at your destination ahead of schedule.
Game One:Walk-Off Hero = Locker Room goat.
Hard to believe a player could achieve the above, but Utility Man Sean Rodriguez, did just that.
It started with this improbable 11th inning Laser to LF:
..but ended with these candid, and quite a bit truthful, feelings about the phans who have been riding him pretty hard:
“Who’s looking bad and feeling entitled when you hear stuff like that? I’m asking you,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not the one booing, I’m not the one screaming, I’m not the one saying pretty disgusting things at times. That seems pretty entitled. You’re just making yourself look pretty bad as an individual, as a person, as a fan.”
Rodriguez had done quite a few interviews on the field for TV and Radio, and not once had a tone like this, saying all the “right” things. It seemed when he got to the locker room, and was asked about this repeatedly, he really needed to say what he felt.
This might not have been so bad, but it was the use of the word “entitled” that really set the twitteratti off, and you can that discussion that out for yourself, as I will not publish much of the language that was used.
Anyway before all that there was a see-saw battle that both teams seemed to want to give it to the other. The teams combined for 3-14 with RISP, and sixteen LOB.
One of the biggest of those phails was a golden opportunity for the Phillies to win the game in the 9th inning.
Brad Miller started the inning with a BB. One out later, Rodriguez also walked. PH Andrew Knapp, the last man off the bench, singled, but hit it too hard and CF Starling Marte was too shallow to score Brad, who is also not the fastest guy on the team.
The phail part came when Rhys Hoskins weakly popped out on the 2nd pitch, and then Bryce Harper fanned, helped out a bit by some questionable called strikes – see hilited.
They also had a good chance to score in the 10th, starting the inning with a J.T. Realmuto single, and a Corey Dickerson BB. Then that bad luck that seems to happen to this team against inferior foes reared its ugly head as Jean Segura lined into a DP, on a great catch by Marte, catching J.T. off second.
The reason the game was heading to extra innings, besides the Phils not scoring, was a Josh Bell PH HR (33) off of Hector Neris (BS,5) with one out in the 9th.
Earlier, two out, 2R HRs in the 4th and 8th innings, by Miller (5), and Dickerson (8), which followed one batter after Harper’s 28th dinger, gave the Phillies the 5-4 lead.
Mike Morin would get his first W as a Phillie for two innings of work, giving up 2H, 1BB, 0R.
Lost in all this was a decent six innings by Jason Vargas (6-6, 4.09 ERA), at that point only giving up one run in the 5th. He ran into trouble though in the 7th giving up a single, a 2B and a BB to start the inning. Those two runners would eventually score setting his OK line at 6In, 7H, 4R – all earned – 1BB, 4K, 0HR. 92P – 54 for strikes.
RHP Michael Feliz (2-4, 3.86) would get the L on 4 pitches.
FTR Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano got a H(9) and RHP Richard Rodríguez also got a BS(4).
Game Two: Different Goat
Game two was a lot like the opener, with three lead changes and one tie, again a combined 4 – 21 with RISP, and 15 LOB, this time without the extra innings. The main difference was in who came out on top in the end.
To hopefully put an end to the S-Rod saga, he was booed pretty loudly in the lineup announcement, but not so much on his first AB. He did get hit by the first pitch, which was cheered both as karma, and as at least a Phillie getting on base. He would later start the 4th inning with a 2B, and score, but of which elicited cheers, so we could move on.
Drew Smyly (2-6, 6.95) pitched fairly well, except for two inning opening sequences of a H followed by a HR in the 1st and 6th innings, to lead to his 5.2In, 9H, 4R – all earned – 0BB, 4K, 2HR, 92P – 58 for strikes line.
The Phillies scored a bit differently with singletons off of Pirates LHP Steven Brault (3-3, 4.06) in the 2nd thru the 4th. They tied the game in the 6th on their only HR of the game by PH Logan Morrison, his first as a Phillie.
As most mangers do at home Gabe Kapler went to his usual closer Neris. After the first out, Hector would walk the next two batters, but then induced what should have been an inning ending DP. That was not to be as the struggling at the plate Hoskins finally seemed to let it get to his fielding as well as the relay throw from Segura was not handled, and a run scored. As Rhys would say later “[I] just missed it. Clanked it.”.
The Pirates closer LHP Felipe Vázquez (5-1, 1.71) who pitched one out in the 8th, set down the top of the order 1-2-3 in the 9th for the W. Neris got stuck with the L.
Game Three: Championship of PA on the line
The #EverbodyHits #WooHoo! (all the starters that is) box score tells the story of one of the best all around offensive performances of the season for the Phillies, just when they needed it to avoid another losing series to an inferior opponent.
In that mix were four 2B, two 3B, and 2HR.
One of those dingers started the big 5th inning, off the bat of one of the best hitters for the Phillies right now, Dickerson (9). He has been so consistent, the Phils had him leading off this game.
The Phillies were already up 3-2 at the time with Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.86) having one of his better outings, the only blemish being a 2R HR to the white hot Bell (34) in the 4th.
I touched on the impact Realmuto has had on this team and on MLB would be base stealers last week. Tuesday night was a high point for that as the Athletic‘s Meghan Montemurro, for my money Queen of in-game stats, tweeted out.
Realmuto caught a career-high three runners attempting to steal tonight.
His three attempted base stealers thrown out tonight marked the first time a Phillies catcher has done so in a game since Chris Coste on Sept. 15, 2007 at the Mets.
The last two days of August and September will see the Phillies (69-63, 3rd Place, WCB 2.5) facing the New York Mets (67-66, 4th Place, WCB 5.0) six more times, and the Washington Nationals (74-58, 2nd Place, WC+2.5) five times, which may very well decide that last WC spot.
The Phillies are also once again on the precipice of going 7 games over .500, something they have not been since 6/18. They keep getting to six and then losing. This stat courtesy of Bob Wankel of Crossing Broad illustrates that.
So the Phils lost again today in an attempt to go seven games over .500, meaning that since 6/19:
They are 28-19 when they are anything other than six games over .500.
They are 0-10 when they are exactly six games over .500.
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.