During the Phillies’ recent series sweep at the hands of the Nationals, but to be fair, there were about 15 minutes in which it looked like they might pull one game out. The inaccurately summoned hope came on Sunday courtesy of Maikel Franco, inspiring narratives of his eventual inheritance of team leadership.
In the top of the ninth, Jonathan Papelbon took the mound for the Nationals in a game tied at three. This was good news for the Phillies because
Since Jonathan Papelbon joined the Nats, he's got a 7.27 ERA against the Phillies (9 G) and a 2.33 ERA against everyone else (38 G).— Chase Hughes (@chasehughesCSN) June 12, 2016
It was good news for Jonathan Papelbon, though, because the Phillies have scored an average of 0.30 runs in the seventh inning or later in 2016. Maybe that’s why this team has lost so many games; they score their runs in thirds. Why... why would they do that.
In any case, Maikel Franco didn’t get the memo on Sunday when he stepped up to the plate against Papelbon and scored an entire run in a single at-bat. When his pounding of a 2-2 offering landed in the left field seats, the Phillies were up 4-3 and Papelbon was left to hop furiously in place near the mound.
Once again, the Phillies had hornswaggled their former closer, one of the few players who provided us with a villain during an era in which nobody really cared enough about the Phillies to want to teach them a lesson. Everybody was happy at the thought of not getting swept, including recently returned Cody Asche in the dugout.
Cody Asche has a message for Papelbon... pic.twitter.com/kinjg7MFn9— Tim Murray (@1TimMurray) June 12, 2016
That’s right, Asche used a classic Bryce Harper quote to really get Papelbon’s goat. Nobody is sure if Papelbon heard his former teammate spouting the catch phrase of his current teammate and choking victim, but if he did, he wasn’t upset for very wrong because minutes later, the Phillies were swept on a walk-off single by a different ex-teammate.