Tonight's game tried to pack a lot in, which was appreciated, after three losses in a row of games that felt more like nothing happened and two and half hours later, the Phillies had lost. Alternatively, in game two of a three-game midweek Miami montage, the Phillies staged a comeback, a guy got hit with a human body, drama lingered in the background, and some people spent the middle few innings wondering if Marlins first baseman Derek Dietrich had a target on his back.
Carlos Ruiz just got hammered at home. The Phillies dugout is livid. They want Dietrich ejected.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) May 8, 2016
Let's open the musty, cobwebby box made of old, rotten wood in which we keep the 2016 Phillies' offensive numbers: Dear lord, their batting average, as a team, was at .199 at one point tonight. Let's re-bury this centipede-covered box in the shallow grave we keep it in.
For that reason, the Marlins mounting any kind of lead early on seemed problematic. This offense hasn't been very "fun" of late and confidence that they can build their own lead, let alone retake one first, is shaken. At least, mine is. The good news, its painfully easy to earn back.
Regardless, Jeremy Hellickson resumed the vulnerable state in which he has pitched of late, stumbling into a lot of deep counts early on and getting tagged by a Marcell Ozuna home run in the second. Though Ryan Howard tied things up with a sac fly, Justin Bour bashed another Hellickson offering to make it 2-1 and give the Fish back their lead. Hellickson was really sweating in the sixth, letting runners trickle on base and then hucking a wild pitch just to spice things up. Ozuna had singled in a run before Pete Mackanin had to roll his eyes and bring Colton Murray into the game.
Fortunately, this baseball game didn't end after the sixth inning for some reason.
By the time the eighth rolled around, the Phillies offense was functioning like a well-oiled machine that had been designed to accomplish nothing. Thankfully, things picked up when David Lough led off with a walk, and Andres Blanco stood in. He took pitches, he fouled off pitches, he stepped out of the box and yelled at no one for a little while. Several weeks later as his at-bat ended, Blanco was on second base, having stroked a double to put two runners in scoring position.
"This situation calls for Darin Ruf!" Pete Mackanin must have exclaimed. "No outs, two runners in scoring position? Bring me my .160 hitter!"
Peter Bourjos got booted from the lineup so Ruf could ground out and accomplish nothing. Thankfully, back to back singles from Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez brought everybody home and made it 3-3. Maikel Franco brought in the lead-taking third run of the inning on a ground ball that should have just been a normal double play, but the relay throw was dropped by Marlins first baseman Chris Johnson and Herrera was able to score.
We were all still nodding in support of the Phillies' furious rally when Giancarlo Stanton hit what the crowd, Scott Franzke, and at least one TV camera operator thought was a game-tying, earth-leaving solo shot. But then Darin Ruf settled under it, and, well, the game went on with everyone having to grapple with Stanton appearing human. David Hernandez pitched the rest of the uneventful eighth, giving way to Jeanmar Gomez, hoping to recover from the first crack in his closer armor days ago. With the whiff of a strikeout and a sharp double play, he pulled it off.
The Phillies were 0-for-10 when still losing after the seventh inning until tonight. With the risk of matching the streak of losses that started the year, the offense pulled itself together, came through late, and saw their closer bounce back from a blown save in St. Louis. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday night. Like, digging a shallow grave, for example.