It was an interesting Mother’s Day matinee…
After a complete wash out on Saturday night, yesterday was a chilly, rainy, dreary, day. Friday night we watched a gem of a performance by Jake Arietta go to waste, as Hector Neris struggles continued. While he ultimately, did blow the lead late in the game, the Phillies, also had plenty of chances they wasted and the lone run, came on Odubel Herrera’s solo shot in the bottom of the first inning. So, Sunday the Phillies were looking to get back at it, and close the series out with a win. 34,091 who paid attendance were hoping to see a pitching duel between the Phillies Ace, Aaron Nola, and Mets
longhaired, flamethrowing freak Jacob deGrom. There was a one hour rain Then the the game started, and needless to say things got interesting.
Both pitchers struggled in the first inning, loading the bases. However, both were able to walk around early trouble and escape unscathed. Jacob deGrom threw 45 pitches, walked the bases loaded, and lasted 1 inning. Interestingly enough, he cut his hair.
The Nick Williams Situation is interesting…
Aaron Nola once again did his thing. 6 innings, 1 run, 4Ks. The stat line itself does not blow you away, but take away a solo HR, by Cespedes, and he pitched mistake free. He is 6-1 with a 1.99 ERA over 9 starts this year, and he continues to improve. His last 3 starts, he has combined for 23Ks, 3 walks, 2 runs allowed and pitched 20 2/3 innings. He is by far, the Phillies best starter, and has been showing this start after start. It was another one of those games in which the bats were quiet. Odubel did have a walk in the first inning, to keep his streak alive of reaching base now at 41 consecutive games. It looked as if, it was going to be another wasted starting pitching performance from Nola. He got through 6 innings, lowered his ERA to an impressive 1.99 but left down 1-0.
Carlos Santana, led off the bottom of the 6th with a double. Seems like the boo birds that haunted him earlier in the season, have left. Lets take a look at some numbers from Carlos of late. To start there is this:
— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) May 13, 2018
This month alone, he is hitting .289 with 5 HRs, 16RBIs, 11XBH, and only 3 strikeouts. At the end of April Carlos, was hitting .149 he is now at .196 a 47 point increase in 2 weeks.
He has quietly been on a roll. Delivering clutch hit after clutch hit, and it is no coincidence, the Phillies are still in second place at this time. The team is 7-4 this month, still 1 game out of first place behind the Braves.
After the double, Michael Franco hit a blooper to left, that Cespedes, bad wheel and all was able to track down. Scott Kingery worked a walk, and than Aaron Alfaro, struck out swinging. It was Nola’s spot in the order, it was getting late in the game, and on spot duty, Gabe called on Nick Williams to pinch hit. This was the result.
New York gets one across in the 7th.
But we still lead, 3-2 … Thanks to THIS. pic.twitter.com/pLztk1fIUt
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) May 13, 2018
A Pinch Hit 3 run jack to put the Phils up 3-1 and make Nola the pitcher of record on the winning side. Nick Williams has been the odd man out this year in the Phillies outfield. Its hard to find a spot for him though. Aaron Altherr, Rhys Hoskins, and Odubel seem to be penciled in every day. For what its worth, Odubel’s streak has been historic, and his defense, justifies his spot in center. Rhys is a guy who needs to get as many plate appearances as possible, as his brief history with the big club has shown us plenty of promise. With the way Santana, has been playing as documented above, it is hard to justify Rhys, getting time at first base. Aaron Altherr, has shown he can be a 5 tool player but he is only hitting .194 this season so it maybe time to go to a platoon situation. Or, we are going to Baltimore for a 2 game series with the Orioles, so maybe he can get 3-4 at bats a game as a DH there.
Nola would leave with the lead, and the bullpen would need 9 outs, to close out a victory. Sure enough it would be a struggle, Tommy Hunter came in for the 7th and almost gave it right back. Fortunately, Phillie kiler, Asdubal Cabrera’s shot stayed in the yard for a double and did not clear the right field bleachers. We got out of the 7th only allowing 1 run and held on to a 3-2 lead.
It had that feel that this was going to come down to a bullpen game, and after recent struggles especially Friday, insurance would have been huge. Leave it to Santana again, to handle that.
That was one heck of a homestand for the scorching hot @TheRealSlamtana!
He recorded 8 hits, 2 doubles, 4 homers, and drove in 14 runs. He now has 7 dingers on the season, including this late blast yesterday. pic.twitter.com/ywBm8B4OK3
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) May 14, 2018
This would make it 4-2 going into the 9th and the Phils, would need just 3 outs to win the game, the question is who would close it out.
The closing of games has been interesting and difficult to watch..
Lets be honest. Hector Neris has been all but a sure thing for the past few years. Its been a struggle, Hector Neris, Jeanmar Gomez, over the last 2 seasons, the 9th inning, has left much to be desired. After Friday night, when Hector Neris, give up 2 ninth inning home runs, and the Phillies, lost 3-1. The questions remained. Who could consistently get 3 outs late in games, when given the lead. It was his third blown save in 11 tries.
Even after this, Kapler, a players manager, showed support of Hector saying they would use Hector if he is the best option for the scenrio. However, he is also kind of back tracked a bit saying the following:
“Even if he is the best guy for the situation, we might not use him [on Saturday],” Kapler said. “But it’s not going to be because we think he’s not going to be effective. At any point, if he’s the best guy to get three outs in the ninth inning in our estimation, he’ll have that opportunity to do so.”
Instead on Sunday holding a 2 run lead, and after Seranthony Dominquez retired the Mets in the 8th. Kapler was put in a spot, as this game needed to be closed out.
So in the ninth inning, Kapler, turned to Edubray Ramos. The inning led off with a pinch hitter. Juan Lagares was hitting for Jeury Familia who pitched the bottom of the 8th. Ramos retired him on a fly out to Odubel in center. Next up was Amed Rosario. 5 pitches, 4 of which were sliders and a strikeout swinging. This left the Phillies needing one out to close the game, and do it in fairly non-stressful fashion. But what kind of game would it be if that happened.
Back to the top of the order and Brandon Nimmo, who already had 2 hits on the day. The at bat turned out like you thought it would a 4 pitch walk all fastballs and none even sniffed the zone. Which would bring the tying run to the plate. Not just any tying run. Phillies killer, Asdrubal Cabrera. Yes, that guy. The guy who had one epic bat flip, 2 years ago, against Edubray Ramos, sparring his own bobblehead as a result of the moment. Feast your eyes on this from this 2 years ago.
Being a Phillies fans, I still remember this. I was hoping for better results in round 2, but with this team, you have to expect the worst. All year, we have struggled against the NL East, especially the Mets. I hate the Mets. Lets not lose another game, because of our unreliable bullpen. The at bat itself, well 2 sliders to start, a looking, strike and a foul ball. Up 0-2, but what kind of game would it be had it been that easy. The count runs full after 3 straight balls, and on pitch 6 he gets into one the opposite way. Fortunately, although hit hard, the Phillies were playing no doubles defense and Rhys, was able to make the catch. A win for the team, a 23-16 record and a great 16-6 at CBP.
Next up is an off day, and then interleague play returns. The team will have 2 games down in Baltimore against the last place and struggling Orioles. Get ready for a fun summer, which will include competitive Phillies baseball.