Leaving the equineexpletivedeleted series as the sweepee in San Francisco behind them, the Philadelphia Phillies, after a much needed mental day off, looked to hit the reset button against the Chicago Cubs.
Until the 9th inning of game two, it looked like the Phils had done just that.
Game 1: Phillies produce Long and microball behind Eflin bounce back outing
The Phillies scored early in this game, surprisingly putting up 5R in the 2nd and 3rd innings combined, against Cubs starter RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-5, 3.59 ERA). He came into this game as one of the best pitchers ERA wise at Wrigley Field in Cubs history during now his 5th season there.
They started the scoring in the 2nd inning with the long ball portion of our program courtesy of a 2R HR to deep RF, through a stiff wind, by Nick Williams (7), scoring Aaron Altherr who drew a one out BB.
A resurgent Zach Eflin (2-2, 3.74) would get the SDI, helped out by some bad base running by Jose Contreras, making the 3rd out at 3B tagging up with two outs.
The Phils would then put on the second scoring act, using the microest of ball as I tweeted below.
The RBIs would go to Carlos Santana, Altherr, and Williams.
That would be the last time they scored until an answer back run in the top of the ninth, but they would not need it as Eflin was on his game. Using mostly his four seam fastball, he scattered 8H, in 7.2 innings, giving up just one run, earned on the last H of the night. The wind was blowing in strongly, causing most fly balls to die well before the wall, so Eflin felt like he could attack the hitters with the four seamer:
“It makes you want to go after them more,” Eflin said, “throwing more four-seam fastballs in particular. That’s a night when you can just let them put it in the air.”
Phillies Manager Gabe Kapler would talk about why he stuck w/ Eflin to face Anthony Rizzo in the 7th at 102 pitches.
“I saw it as player development,” Kapler said. “I saw a guy who was composed, whose stuff was all there, who continued to attack the strike zone, wasn’t backing down for a minute.
“Here comes a left-handed hitter, we could have gone to (Adam) Morgan, for example, to record that out. But I thought that Eflin earned the opportunity to try to get through that inning. He was efficient all night long. From a visualization standpoint, you could see Rizzo hitting a groundball and us gobbling it up like we were doing for most of the night.”
He did give up the RBI hit to Rizzo on the third pitch, and then was pulled at 7.2, 8H, 1R – earned – 2K, 1BB, oHR, 105P, 72 for strikes.
Edubray Ramos and the still amazing Seranthony Domínguez, 1In, 0H, 1K, 0BB, finished off the much needed easy 6-1 win.
Hendricks would earn the loss on just 5In of work, 5H, 5R – all earned, 5K, 3BB, 87P – 54 for strikes.
As for the offense:
It took awhile for the Phillies offense to get anything going here against LHP Jose Quintana (6-4, 4.2 ), as the Cubs built a 3-0 lead off of Aaron Nola (7-2, 2.35) with 1 run in the 2nd and two in the 4th. The solo HR by Rizzo (9) in the 2nd was the first one given up by Nola to a LH hitter this season.
The Phils would tire out Quintana in the 6th. Cesar Hernandez started the inning with a BB, but then b2b Ks made it look like yet another inning that went by the wayside, but a Santana single would drive Quintana out of the game, after he reached 91P – 57 for strikes. RHP Steve Cishek was brought on to face Altherr, and this happened:
That would give both starters a ND and Quintana’s final line set at 5.2In, 3H, 2R – both earned, 10K, 2BB, 0HR.
Nola would finish the bottom half of the inning for the QS line of 6In, 4H, 3R – all earned – 6K, 4BB, 1HR, 92P – 57 for strikes. Both starters pitched well enough for a W.
Each pen would keep this game scoreless, setting up the roller coaster ride that was the 9th inning.
The long climb up was the 2-spot the Phillies put up on an Altherr single, and then Dylan Cozens 1st MLB HR gave the team a 5-2 lead.
But as any amusement park ride fan knows the inevitable belly whomping fall would come as Kapler would go to Morgan with bases loaded and LH hitting Jason Heyward coming up with two outs. What I show below, which should come with an internet warning for “objectionable content” to Phillies phans, was that fall:
It was the kind of L/L pen move almost every manager in MLB would have used in that situation as the tweet below illustrates:
“Stuff” happens in baseball. Just a reminder for all who question Kapler and his use of “closer by committee” there are 18 teams in MLB with more blown saves – Phillies have 8. They are middle of the pack – 16th – in save % and we just do not see all the other teams, and so it seems worse to us.
It did not get better in the finale as the Phillies would miss opportunity after opportunity to score runs. To start with they could only manage one run in the first 5In, even after 12 men reached base.
Meanwhile the Cubs would score one in the 4th and three in that 5th off of Nick Pivetta (4-5, 3.46), who would still go 6In, 4H, 4R – all earned, 6K, 1BB, 1HR, 86P – 57 for strikes, for the L. Those 4R by the Cubs earned LHP Brian Duensing a W for only 1In of work.
The Phillies would manage two runs in the top of the 6th to make the game appear closer than it was on a Jesmuel Valentín PH single, an E allowing Cesar to reach and then a Scott Kingery 2B (12). It would be Valentin’s first MLB run scored.
In the end 9BB, 13LOB, and 2-11 with RISP would contribute to another flustrating loss to end the series that could have been won, and leave them with a 3-7 road trip.
The Phillies made 40 picks in the 2018 draft. Below are the top 10 picks.
For the balance of their picks go to
TBH, I do not know a lot about these kids and have not done the research necessary to evaluate the picks. I defer you to those out there much more expert than I. One tweeter/writer I can recommend is Jeff Isreal – who writes for philliesminorthoughts.com. He had extensive pre-draft boards and has written about each of the picks.
I do like the looks of their first pick Alec Bohm, who looks to be a good power hitter playing now at 3B, but supposedly could be a 1B as well if need be.
This is a still very young team, and we all know that down times like this will happen to young and experienced teams alike. As has been noted before the June schedule is not an easy one, and if they can tread water and stay 3-5 games out of first place in the NL, there will be some very interesting decisions to be made come trade deadline time.
By the time this post drops, the weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers will be history, so I will post the probables for this week’s series against the Colorado Rockies (32-33, 4th Place NL West) which starts Tuesday. Well at least the Phillies Ps as Colorado has not posted theirs yet.
I will be back at CBP for the Flag Day matinee, hopefully getting back on the winning ways after Friday night’s fiasco which you can read about if you dare, as our
does his Monday wrap-up thing.
*Updated with Colorado probable pitchers 08/11/18*
Colorado Rockies @ Philadelphia Phillies
Tuesday, June 12, 7:05 PM ET , Citizens Bank Park
Jon Gray, RHP