I haven't gotten much joy from baseball this week. I actually wasn't looking forward to watching this game at all. Thankfully, the Phillies were there to pick me up when I was feeling down. They played a legitimately entertaining game that got me excited for baseball again.
Tonight was all about Jerad Eickhoff, whose name looks like it should be spelled differently somehow. Eickhoff was one of the 50 or 60 players the Phillies got from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade, and was called up just today to make his major league debut. And boy did he have a debut. He tossed six scoreless innings on just 75 pitches, and allowed five hits, one walk, and notched six strikeouts. Plus, Eickhoff's pitch count was wonderfully low all game. He'd thrown only 57 pitches through five innings. Trouble started to brew (or maybe just lightly simmer) in the sixth inning, and he needed 18 pitches to get through it. He ended well, striking out the last two hitters of the inning. But that wasn't enough for Pete Mackanin to keep Eickhoff in the game, and so his night was done after six. Maybe Eickhoff was nearing his unknown pitch count. Or maybe Mackanin didn't to press his luck, so he quit while he was ahead. Either way, Eickhoff had a really great night.
But that's not all! In his second major league at-bat, Eickhoff hit a single to shallow right field which scored two runs. He even took second base on the throw. His family was out in full force to watch him make his debut, and they went absolutely insane. It was glorious. And while he was being adorable during his post-game interview with Gregg Murphy, he confessed that before tonight, he hadn't taken a professional at-bat in "six or seven years" Seriously, Jerad Eickhoff was tremendously likable and cute during his post-game interview. AND he pitched well! I can't ask for more of a starter than that. Would you like to read a fun fact about Jerad Eickhoff? You're in luck!
Jerald Eickhoff is the 1st Phillies starter to not allow a run in his major-league debut since … Cole Hamels, the man he was traded for.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) August 22, 2015
Amazingly, Jerad Eickhoff wasn't the only stellar thing about today's game. The offense was on point, easily whacking around pitches from Marlins' starter Kendry Flores. The fourth inning is where more than half of the Phils' runs were scored, (and where Eickhoff hit his single). Up until then, the offense had been pretty quiet. But then the lineup turned over, and the second time through the Phillies were all over Flores. They laid down three straight hits to open the inning, scoring a run in the process. A throwing error on a sacrifice fly turned into a chance for Ryan Howard to take an extra base, and that set up the chance for Eickhoff to grab two RBI (and an extra base) on his single.
Freddy Galvis had a great moment in the sixth inning when he took advantage of some unobservant fielding and scored all the way from first on a Cameron Rupp single. Marlins' left fielder Derek Dietrich bobbled the ball and looked away for just a second, and Freddy Galvis just kept on running. Dietrich wasn't expecting to see Gavis motoring around the bases, and his throw to the plate was too late.
It would be a crime if I didn't mention that Ryan Howard had THREE doubles and 2 RBI tonight.
Ryan Howard hits three doubles in a game for the second time in his career. Last did it on June 8, 2008.— Bill Baer (@Baer_Bill) August 22, 2015
(Oh god the memories. They're so pungent.) And I definitely need to mention that that Odubel Herrera had two hits, and so did Cameron Rupp. Rupp also made a fantastic jumping grab in the bottom of the fourth which saved a run and preserved the shutout. (Well, it was a shutout at the time.) Justin Bour tried to score from first on a double hit by Marcell Ozuna, and he almost got away with it. Galvis, the cutoff man, fed a high throw to Rupp, and he had to reach up and get it. He managed to bring it down in time to tag Boer before he hit the plate, a truly wondrous feat.
The only blemish on tonight was another home run allowed by Jeanmar Gomez, the third in two outings. Derek Dietrich, the first batter of the inning only needed one pitch, which he yanked into the crowd. Before Tuesday, Gomez had given up one home run 58 1/3 innings pitched this season. Either Gomez is having a run of bad luck, or something is starting to catch up with him. Hopefully he can get it together his next time out.
The Phillies' TV booth was even in fine form tonight. This seems like a great way to close out tonight's recap.
TMac: "His favorite position...." Stairs: "....Hitting?" TMac: "....is centerfield."— UTLEY GIFFER (@dj_mosfett) August 22, 2015
You could HEAR Matt Stairs' eyebrow shoot through the roof of the booth on that one.— UTLEY GIFFER (@dj_mosfett) August 22, 2015