As some guy who used to play for the Philadelphia Phillies returned, and a possibly future Phillie also was in the lineup for the Los Angeles Dodgers (55-44 1st Place NL West), the short home-stand got under way. They would also start a series with the on the road against the less daunting Cincinatti Reds (45-57, Last Place, NL Central) ) on Thursday.
It turned out to be a week dominated by the Long Ball as the Phillies would win the last three games of the week showing the power part of the 2018 Phillies lineup.
Game 1: HR Derby Amazes but Small Ball gives Dodgers the W
The announced crowd of 33,753, apparently most there to see the return of Chase Utley based on the reactions to routine fly balls and fouls all game, gave this a big game feel.
If you like HRs, you sure got your moneys worth as the teams combined for eight, with four for each team. Interestingly they were all solo shots, except for one which I will get to later.
The Dodgers started their barrage early with B2B HRs off of Zach Eflin (7-2, 3.41 ERA) in the 1st inning, by Max Muncy (23), and Yasmani Grandal (14). They would strike again in the 2nd, Chris Taylor (12) this time.
The Phillies would answer with their first one on Maikel Franco‘s 14th of the season in the bottom of the inning, but they were stymied by Dodgers starter RHP Ross Stripling (8-2, 2.43), who threw a mix of low 90s FB, upper 80s cutters, and a variety of off-speed stuff including an upper 70’s knuckle curve.
Eflin meanwhile had nothing on this night, and was pulled after loading the bases with two outs for an uninspiring line of 2.2In, 5H, 3R – all earned on 3HR – 1K, 3BB. Yacksel Rios would come on to get Utley to GO for the final out.
While I am on Utley, he led the game in Ovations with 4, but at the plate went 0-4.
Back to the game, the Phils, as they have done so often, found a way to get to a very good pitcher in Stripling, extending AB’s and making him work. This finally paid off in the bottom of the 5th.
Jorge Alfaro would start the rally with a one out single, followed by a Jesmuel Valentin 2B (5) to make it 2nd and 3rd for Carlos Santana. Carlos would have one of his worst AB’s of the season, striking out on four pitches and it looked like the UnClutchables would not strike again until:
Rhys Hoskins shook CBP, with the only non solo HR of the game. Of course it would come with two strikes. It was his third game in a row with a HR.
“That,” Hoskins would say after the game “was the first time that I’ve hit a home run where I couldn’t really hear myself think on the bases.”
The crowd kept cheering until he shyly tipped his cap out of the dugout.
We at the ballpark barely had time to catch our collective breaths before Odubel Herrera followed with his 18th long ball of the season giving the Phils a 5-4 lead and sending Stripling to the showers.
This team never gives up.
The Dodgers would start to find other ways to score though. In the 7th, that possible future Phillie, Manny Machado, smacked a 3B (2) down the RF line, and he would score on a sac fly to tie the game at 5.
In the 9th though Seranthony Dominguez, he of the 1.59 ERA coming in, would show he is merely human, starting the inning with a BB, and then a single. After coming back to strike out Machado, he also issued a BB to Muncy, and then a WP, which maybe could have been blocked better, would give the Dodgers the lead, and Manager Gabe Kapler had seen enough. Luis Garcia would relieve him only to give up a single to make it 7-5.
The Dodgers would need that extra run as their closer RHP Kenley Jansen would give up the final solo HR of the night to Franco, his 2nd of the evening and 15th of the season. Jansen would shut the door after that.
Dominguez earned his 3rd L to go with one W. Austin Davis pitched an impressive inning for a H(2) while Tommy Hunter got a BS (2) for giving up that tying run in the 7th. Scott Alexander improved to 2-0 for one inning of work, and Jansen S #29.
Amazingly the Phillies, even though they stretched Stripling to 99 pitches, did not get a single BB.
Game 2:Phillies Pen and Plouffe HR Win a Marathon
The longest game of the season, will have the shortest recap of the week, as is typical of a long extra inning game, this one had large stretches where nobody scored. This happened here when from the 8th inning on there was nothing but zeros on the board put up by six Phillies hurlers, and nine for the Dodgers.
LA built a 4-1 lead on two solo HRs, mixed in with some small ball. The Phillies lone run early, came in the 5th after falling behind 3-0, on Nick Williams 12th dinger of the season.
But for the second night in a row a non solo HR would tie the game off a Dodgers starter who seemed to be cruising through the order:
as Alfaro (7) did the honors this time in the 7th inning.
This team never gives up.
Both starters would be long gone before this one was decided. Aaron Nola would only go, a pedestrian for him 5In, 5H, 3R – all earned – 5K, 2BB, 1HR, 91P, 61 for strikes. LA RHP Kenta Medea was done after that 7th inning.
As noted above, that was it for the scoring until after the 2nd seventh inning stretch of the night passed in the 16th:
bench hero Trevor Plouffe would end the 5:55 16 inning marathon.
One more tidbit on the Plouffe HR
A personal aside on the above, back in the day many players had other jobs in the off-season. In my father’s time as a business manager for a car dealership back in the 60’s, Clay Dalrymple was one of their salesmen. He used to play catch with us kids in the show room when it was not busy.
The Dodgers CF/RHP Enrique Hernández would get the L, but got a W for sense of humor:
Vince Velasquez (7-8 4.05) pitched the top of the 16th for the W.
The finale of the series was kind of anticlimactic as no records were approached, only three HRs were launched, and for a change both starters were on the record, as the Phils put up a five spot in the 5th, and added one insurance run in the 8th, for a 7-3 win.
Each team scored in the first, the Dodgers on a sac fly, after a throwing error by Andrew Knapp, on a BB no less, put a LA runner on 3rd, with no outs.
Philly would answer right back on the red hot Hoskins 18th HR to CF.
Both Dodgers RHP Walker Buehler (4-3, 3.92) and Jake Arrieta (8-6, 3.45) would take over the game.
That was until the 5th inning when the Phillies offense awoke once again.
It all started after one out, with a Scott Kingery HR (5) which had to wait to be upheld by an Umpires review for possible fan interference. Jesmuel Valentin would then single, and redemption was Knapp’s as he knocked him in with a 2B (6). An IBB to Hoskins, and a 5 pitch BB to Herrara loaded the bases. Carlos Santana would do what the Phillies paid him to do, besides just getting on base, clearing the bases with his second 3B of the season.
Arrieta was not at his sharpest but eked out a QS, going 6In, 5H, 3R – 2 earned – 6K, 2BB, 1HR, 95P – 66 for strikes. Jake gave up those 2 earned runs in the 6th on yet another Muncy HR(24) with a man on. Buehler would only get 2 outs in the 5th.
This would be the first time the Phillies have won consecutive home series against the Dodgers since 2010-11, and barring meeting in the playoffs, will be the last time one Chase Utley, forever in our hearts AKA “The Man”, will play before the adoring CBP phans.
The first LH starter in 2018 was not a trade deadline deal, but the call-up of prospect Ranger Suarez, #9 in Phillies system, per MLB Pipeline. He was 1-0, with a 0.57 ERA in his 3 starts since being promoted to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. It had been 267 games, 667 days since the Phillies started a LHP – Adam Morgan 9/28/16
It would be an extra long time for Suarez to make that debut as Reds starter RHP Tyler Mahle (7-8, 4.53) took 45 pitches to get through the first inning, giving up 5H, 3R, 2HR, and a 2B, as the Phils took a 3-0 lead. The 2 HRs were by Hoskins (19) and Santana (16). Santana’s came after Herrera reached on an IF single, with help on a deflection by Mahle.
The Reds would bounce right back though, as the Suarez Vs Suarez battle ended when Eugenio Suarez hit his 23rd HR with a man on.
That first inning would be a foreshadowing of the historic night to come for the Phillies offense in what I not so affectionately call the “Great American Band Box”.
Nick Williams (13) answered an inning later, with a solo Bomb to the CF berm.
Yet another Reds 2R HR – Tucker Barnhart (7) – tied the game in the 4th.
Cincinnati would not score again, but the Phillies could not be stopped on this night. They would put up single run in the next 5 innings including solo shots by Franco( 16), Hoskins (20), Franco (17, and Williams (14) capping off the 9th.
Williams became the third player with 2 HRs helping the Phils tie a club record with 7HR in a game. The only other time they did that which was also the last time three players had multiple HRs. Game: 7, vs. Mets at the Vet, 9/8/1998. 1B Rico Brogna 2, LF Kevin Sefcik 2, Bobby Estalella 2, PH Marlon Anderson.
Back to the pitchers – Suarez made it through 5In, 6H, 4R – all earned – 3K, 1BB, 2HR, 75P – 45 for strikes. It was an ok debut in a very tough park for pitchers, but thanks to the prodigious offense staying ahead and eventually scoring 9 runs, he got his first MLB W. He had only given up 2HR in the minors this season in 15 games, but they were in homer friendly Reading.
Mahle, who only went the 1 inning, was spared a L. Michael Lorenson (1-1, 2.79) was not so lucky giving up 2R in 4 innings. Three Phillies pitchers earned a H, Garcia (11) Pat Neshek (2), and Hunter (20). The pen once again was not scored upon in 4 innings.
How can I not end with this wrap of the HR’s courtesy of the excellent @Phillies:
To update a note from my last post before the ASG break, with the 3 XBH in the 1st inning on Thursday, the Phillies streak of at least one XBH reached 98 consecutive games. That is by far the longest active streak in MLB and the 3rd-longest streak in team history. Next up is 101 games from 4/20-8/11/2000.
The team has scored 20 HR’s since the ASG, Hoskins himself has hit six in those seven games.
The Phillies finish the series in Cincy before heading to Boston for 2 games to end the road trip.
Philadelphia Phillies @ Cincinnati Reds
Friday, July 27, 7:10 PM ET , Great American Ball Park
Saturday, July 28, 6:40 PM ET , Great American Ball Park
Sunday, July 29, 1:10 PM ET , Great American Ball Park