I'll admit that I was very concerned that the Phillies would lose this game when lineups were announced today. The obvious reason was that Severino "The Pasta Man" Gonzalez was making his second career major league start after getting hit around by the Cardinals on Tuesday night, giving up 10 hits and 7 earned runs in less than three innings of pitching.
To make matters worse, Ryne Sandberg wrote up a doozy of a defensive lineup featuring Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf both occupying space in the field, Cesar Hernandez at shortstop, and St. Grady and the Broken Bones in right field. To offer that lineup behind a pitcher who couldn't even strike out minor league hitters was certainly not putting "The Pasta Man" in a position to succeed.
In the first inning, the Marlins submitted an expert display of small ball for Ryne Sandberg's consideration. After Ichiro led off with a walk, he promptly stole second and third bases, which put him in position to score on a Giancarlo Stanton sacrifice fly.
But after that unfortunate start, Severino loosened up from hard to al dente as he only gave up one more run in the next 4 innings. He exited the game after five innings and only gave up 2 runs on 5 hits and one walk. He also struck out five Marlins. After optioning David Buchanan to Lehigh Valley yesterday, it appears that the Phillies are going to give Severino at least a couple more starts with the big boys. Today at least provided some assurance that not all of those appearances will be disastrous.
On the other side, former Baby Ace Jarred Cosart got into some trouble in the 5th after dominating the Phillies offense for the first four innings. After Cesar Hernandez scored on a birthday-boy Ben Revere grounder that barely eluded the grasp of of Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria, Cosart lost it:
Even after getting Chase Utley to lineout to end the inning, the once-future ace took his pacing game to the dugout where he distracted his teammates with his incessant pacing for the entire bottom of the inning. Either giving up a run to the Phillies is a sufficiently humiliating experience to drive a man to lose his effing shit or Cosart realized he was behind his FitBit step goal for the day. I'll leave that decision up to you.
In the 6th inning, the Phillies got the offense going against a clearly rattled Cosart. After he hit Darin Ruf with a pitch to lead off the inning, Ryan Howard delivered an RBI triple (#yearofthetriple) that allowed Ruf to score from first. Watch Ruf round third, I was honestly concerned he was getting a little too top heavy and was in danger of eating it halfway to home, but, thankfully, he remained upright and crossed home without much trouble.
After Sizemore followed with a single that scored Howard from third, Cosart was pulled from the game. A rare casualty of the Phillies offense.
From there, the Phillies bullpen looked as good as it was supposed to entering the season. Justin De Fratus mowed through the heart of the Marlins order in the 6th, striking out Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Michael Morse swinging. Luis Garcia got three groundouts around one walk in the 7th. 95 Miles Giles put together an easy 1-2-3 8th. Papelbon finished the game in the 9th, but with the Phillies up 6-2, did not record a save.
The win snapped a 5 game losing streak for the Phillies.
- Since a hot first two weeks, Cody Asche has fallen off a cliff. In his first 28 plate appearances of the season, Asche hit .500/.571/.667. Obviously no one anywhere read too much into that. With an 0-for-4, 1 walk performance today, Asche's line since April 15th is a impotent .181/.203/.279. With Franco hitting well in AAA so far, Asche's days as starting third basemen may be numbered. Regarding the number given to those days, I would venture that it is a low one.
- Chase Utley went 0-for-5 and is now hitting .109/.171/.217 on the season. Gracefully aging is not a thing Chase Utley appears to be doing early in 2015. I'm still optimistic he'll turn it around and at least resemble his recent self--which, by the way, is still one of the best second basemen in baseball--the rest of the way.
- Today is Ben Revere's birthday. He is a day older than he was yesterday, but for some reason that is more significant today than it is any other day.
- With the Phillies up 6-2, Ryne Sandberg brought in Papelbon to finish the game, which task he completed successfully. He has now finished 9 games this year and 61 since the start of last season. Why am I telling you this? I mean, who cares about Games Finished anyway? Well, Papelbon has an option for 2016 that vests if he finishes 100 games total between 2014 and 2015. He's on pace to do that.