It has been a frustrating last few games of Phillies baseball. The team couldn't hit, the pitching was not great. To turn things around the Phillies had Vincent Velasquez on the mound and Tommy Joseph batting cleanup. You know what, because it is the 2016 Phillies, it worked beautifully.
Vinny wins pic.twitter.com/L11QHEb80A— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) May 17, 2016
when you swing the bat like a nerd pic.twitter.com/WSFRj0yq3Q— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) May 17, 2016
Tommy Joseph's first major league homer! pic.twitter.com/GTZG0RBBQ4— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) May 17, 2016
BEHOLD EVERYONE, PRADO STRIKING OUT ON AN INFINITE LOOP pic.twitter.com/IQCKycP4sb— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) May 17, 2016
thank you, come again pic.twitter.com/2DhQyLBUVs— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) May 18, 2016
Tommy is doing things pic.twitter.com/sWxBamWo4i— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) May 18, 2016
We could just have replayed the first five innings and it would have been beautiful. Unfortunately, five innings is all Velasquez had as the Marlins fouled off pitch after pitch. But a final line of 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, and 10 K is nothing to scoff at. Meanwhile, Tommy Joseph's first major league home run topped off a 3-4 day at the plate.
The problem is the Phillies had to navigate four more innings of baseball on bullpen power, but they did it. Elvis Araujo and Andrew Bailey got through the sixth with Araujo striking out Giancarlo Stanton. David Hernandez made the seventh inning interesting with two singles, but made it very uninteresting for the Marlins by striking out three and leaving everyone stranded.
So we are through the rough patch - on to the back of the bullpen who got a lot more rest (three days) than they are used to! Hector Neris had to get past Stanton, who took him deep on May 6th and gave him a loss. So of course he did this...
redemption for Neris pic.twitter.com/Fi76MFS4KZ— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) May 18, 2016
And he didn't stop there, as he set everyone down (including Phillie killer Martin Prado), bringing his season strikeout total to 33, one off the major league lead for relievers.
Sadly, no one told Jeanmar Gomez that winning games by one run is not the goal, as he loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. But a sac fly and a play by Tommy Joseph - one that Ryan Howard would have missed - and the game was over, 3-1.
Phillies pitching struck out 17 on the night. Vince Velasquez continues to look like a dominant force. The Phillies scored three runs on a night when Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco went 0-8 with 3 strikeouts. Not a bad day at the ballpark. Oh, and with a Mets win over the Nationals, the three teams are now all within a half game at the top of the NL East standings.
The Phillies and Marlins go at it again tomorrow afternoon with Jeremy Hellickson and his magical changeup on the mound. And because we cannot have too much of a nice thing, Ryan Howard will be starting at first base and not Tommy Joseph.