I want to say that it's just the second game, that there's no reason for us to get twisted up about things, that we should all just take a deep breath and a step back and calm down. I want to say those things and mean them. But I can't really say that. This was bad, folks.
But let's not start there. Let's start with Aaron Nola, who was fantastic in his 2016 debut. Seven innings, four hits, and just one run. Oh, and he struck out eight. Eight! Eight strikeouts! Here's a gorgeous highlight. And on top of that, David Hernandez redeemed himself and pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Most importantly, he lowered his ERA from INFINITY to 27. It's certainly going in the right direction.
But going in the right direction is not something Dalier Hinojosa's ERA was doing. Last night's game was his first chance to close a game for the Phillies, and he failed spectacularly pretty much right away. The first batter that Hinojosa faced singled. The second flied out. The third and fourth both singled, and with the bases loaded and one out Pete Mackanin went out to the mound to talk to him.
Pete Mackanin, staring into the abyss, will attempt to calm closer Dalier Hinojosa. #BullpenRoulette— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 7, 2016
It didn't do much good. The final batter Hinojosa faced (and when you read "final batter" you should hear ominous music and sense what's coming next) was someone named Steve Schebler. Schebler doubled and two runs scored, giving the Reds their first walk-off win of the year. Womp womp.
Of course, don't let the bullpen's general suckiness distract you from the other reason the Phillies lost this game: offense. Or the lack thereof. Brandon Finnegan had the Phillies' number and he would not give it up. He went six innings but struck out nine and allowed two runs. And poor Cedric Hunter couldn't buy himself a hit! When he laced one to the outfield, Billy Hamilton did this:
I mean, that's not fair. That's just not fair.
All told, the Phillies had five hits, ten strikeouts, and just two walks. But one of those five hits scored two runs, this marvelous homer from Maikel Franco:
In that clip TMac mentions that the wind is blowing in from that direction, which makes it all the more impressive. It took dinger addict Maikel Franco just two games to launch his first homer, so let's look forward to many more and try to forget all the flailing we saw from everyone else.
The Phillies have scored four runs in two games. The outfielders are 1 for 20 with six strikeouts. The bullpen, you know, could use help.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 7, 2016
Two games in and we've seen nothing impressive from the offense or the bullpen. But the starting pitching has been a highlight, a bright spot, the fire burning in the middle of the black, cold arctic night. And for that I am very, very thankful.