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Rookie Ball: Phillies 4, Marlins 2

The rebuilding Phillies laid a few more bricks in Miami.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In a real humiliating move, the NFL obviously overlooked the fact that the Phillies were playing tonight at 7:10 while they were scheduling an Eagles-Ravens preseason game for 7:00. I'm sure someone was fired over that debacle.

With the Delaware Valley in chaos as families settled in front of the TV for the evening, Aaron Harang was sent out to the mound for the first time against the Marlins as a Phillie - you can't tell me an Eagles exhibition game might get more viewers than baseball history.

While an Eagles cornerback was making a one-handed interception, a Phillies' utility infielder was getting thrown out at third base as he inexplicably tried to stretch a double into a triple. So it's hardly as if any one Philadelphia team has the market cornered on heart-pounding excitement. The Phillies played in a rain storm, too, that failed to disrupt the game due to the Marlins' innovative "indoor" technology on display at their covered stadium. Baseball! It's a modern game.

Harang's inevitable run allowance came in the bottom of the third, when Derek Dietrich hit what was basically a grand slam but hit a bird or an air pocket or something and bounced off the fence just shy of a 4-0 game. Instead it was only 2-0; and instead of more runs, the Marlins scored zero. For seven innings, Harang held off the Fish, despite issuing four walks in the first three innings and hitting 101 pitches before going back out for the seventh.


The Phillies sensed weakness, and sprung immediately in the eighth inning after Marlins starter Justin Nicolino had left the game. Darnell Sweeney, rotating in to the hero-off-the-bench role left behind by Chase Utley, who I'm being told I need to stop shoehorning into every conversation, came to the plate as a pinch hitter and launched his first major league hit to left center to cut the lead to 2-1 and yet another rookie's family celebrated in the stands.


Usually trades take years to fully evaluate, but at this point the Utley-for-Dodgers prospects deal of '15 seems to be the steal of the decade. Cesar Hernandez followed Sweeney's bomb by slapping his way on base and Andres Blanco rewarded his effort with an RBI double.

The rookie home run display continued the next inning, when Aaron Altherr nailed his second home run, a wailing line drive to left. Minutes later, 29-year-old Darin Ruf, who is not a rookie, hit a ball that followed Altherr's to the same region of Marlins Park. Luis Garcia and Elvis Araujo stitched together a runless eighth, and then it was Giles Time: Miami.

Ken did his job to keep the 4-2 lead and the Phillies' quest to play themselves out of the first pick of the 2016 draft took another step.