The Phillies won *again* tonight, beating the Nationals, AKA baseball's hottest/most exciting team, AKA "we get it already they're more fun than the Phillies but then again so is a root canal," by a score of 4-3.
This was not a lineup that was supposed to win. Cody Asche, Domonic Brown, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard all sat tonight. Partially to give them some rest, but also because Brown, Utley, and Howard are a combined 4-for-37 against Nationals' starter Gio Gonzalez. Replacing the four everyday players were Grady Sizemore in left field, Andres Blanco at third, Freddy Galvis at second, and Darin Ruf at first. Though this is certainly true:
This is probably the best defensive infield alignment the Phillies have had in 2014. It has shown through five innings.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 27, 2014
If I were Cole Hamels, I wouldn't be too thrilled my manager was starting the second string behind me. But through the first six innings, they all worked together in harmony. The infield was flashing leather all over the place, and Cole Hamels was being Cole Hamels.
Cole Hamels straight dealin'. 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 50 pitches— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidman) August 27, 2014
It looked like it was going to be a pitchers duel until the bottom of the fifth. Sizemore led off with a triple, and then Freddy Galvis, still fresh from AAA, stepped to the plate.
Freddy Galvis hit it to The Aroldis Chapman Corner. He lives.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 27, 2014
Galvis now has 10 career HR. In his book you'll find: Dickey, Lester, Niese, Chapman, Gio— Paul Boyé (@paul_boye) August 27, 2014
He lives indeed. Tonight was just another installment in the ongoing miniseries "Freddy Galvis Hits Surprising Home Runs Against Great Pitchers." I love when that show is on. Darin Ruf, who is doing his best to earn playing time (or at least make Ryne Sandberg look like an enormous imbecile for making him ride the bench), hit a two-out solo homer in the sixth to make it 3-0 Phillies.
Through six innings, Hamels had allowed three hits on 59 pitches. That's insane. But when he went out for the seventh inning, the wheels came off the wagon and the cart began falling ass over ankles down the side of the hill. After dominating for six innings, Hamels gave up five hits to the last nine batters he faced. Four singles in the seventh plated two runs, and a lead-off homer to Asdrubal Cabrera in the eighth inning tied the game.
Hamels was yanked immediately after Ramos touched home plate and Ken Giles was brought in. If you're sick of hearing about how awesome Ken Giles is, or how much I love him, then you should skip to the next paragraph. Good, who wants people like that reading this paragraph, people who hate joy and wonderfulness. Because holy shit, Ken Giles is awesome. He came in for Hamels and struck out the side on 12 pitches. Again: STRUCK OUT THE SIDE ON 12 PITCHES. KEN GILES. I KNOW! And he is so, so into this. He's confident and intense and he's enjoying every single second of this. After striking out the last batter of the inning, Giles jumped off the mound, his body simply unable to contain so much awesomeness.
Ken Giles has struck out 38.8% (47) of the 121 batters he has faced, as it stands the best K% in #Phillies history (h/t @ryanlawrence21)— Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) August 27, 2014
Fuck yeah Ken Giles.
Of course, Giles striking out the side doesn't score any runs for the Phillies, so they had some ground to make up. They were granted a golden opportunity in the bottom of the eighth when Ben Revere, the go-ahead run, was called out on a forceplay that ended up being ruled a throwing error.
Revere was safe at first, and would come around to score on a Carlos Ruiz sacrifice fly. Jonathan Papelbon closed it out for his 100th save as a Philadelphia Phillie. God, he's been on the Phillies for almost three years. It feels like just yesterday he was signed, and yet at the same time it feels like AN ETERNITY AGO. So congratulations to Jonathan Paplebon for tying Brad Lidge on the Phillies all-time save list, even though he's said several times he doesn't want to be on a losing team. His prize is -- oh look! Another year on a losing team! I hope he enjoys it as much as we all will.
Phillies win 3 straight series for first time since right before 2013 All-Star break. Played 61 series in between.— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidman) August 27, 2014
The Nationals will desperately try to win at least one game in this series tomorrow night at 7:05. Losing three to the Phillies sounds like a narrative-killer to me.