“I thought they might not get swept by the Diamondbacks,” said my father in between grill checks.
“They play again tomorrow!” I reminded him, for some reason defending the Phillies.
“You’d at least like to them split the series, though,” he said.
“Yeah,” I replied, “they don’t really do that anymore.”
With the sun shining and the Hawaiian shirt giveaway, today’s matinee with the Diamondbacks felt like a dream vacation, on which you were for inexplicably forced to watch two bad teams play a baseball game. And bad it was! Jimmy Paredes dropped a line drive. Odubel Herrera kicked a fly ball. Cameron Rupp snapped the handle off his bat with his bare hands and almost stabbed himself in the torso. Late inning defensive whiz Peter Bourjos fell down while fielding. The one Phillies run came on a Tommy Joseph double play ball that occurred in the sixth inning when he successfully drove an Archie Bradley pitch straight into the ground with the bases loaded.
It’s not a “fun” team that allows you such confidence in their ability to screw up a bases loaded, no outs scenario. My presumption had been that they would find a way to score zero runs, but as broadcast pioneer Tom McCarthy informed us - and Mike Schmidt confirmed - the Diamondbacks would allow the run to score in favor of securing two outs. Neat!
Cody Asche got good wood on the next pitch, but his line drive had a bit too high of an arch and Michael Bourn was able to track it down, stranding the last real gasp of Phillies offense - Paredes, of all people - on third base. The total Phillies output for the day was three singles; one each from Asche, Paredes, and Herrera. There is just no pop to this lineup, and the powerless swings seem even slower and the frantic, desperate at-bats even more frustrating when they are happening in soaking wet heat. Don’t forget - only one more month before the season’s halfway mark!
The good news was that Zach Eflin’s second big league start was much, much better than his first. It wouldn’t have taken much to be so. But instead of quitting baseball forever, Eflin went out there anyway, like some sort of cool, lone bad-ass.
Zach Eflin warming up to 'Free Bird'.— Jon Johnson (@jonjohnsonwip) June 19, 2016
He threw 5.2 innings, allowing two runs, four hits, and a walk with three strikeouts. Pete Mackanin yanked him after 88 pitches in favor of David Hernandez, who allowed a run in 1.1 innings, and some slow-moving mess of relievers followed until the game came to a merciful end. Who even knows who is out in that pen anymore? Scott Eyre? Probably. But Eflin battled around a high strike zone, Paul Goldschmidt, and a lead-off double in the third to keep the suppressible Arizona offense as suppressed as it is supposed to be. That’s when a good team would have backed their rook with a couple of runs, but this is the Phillies, so they just sort of took turns letting each other down.
Jake Lamb, Phil Gosselin, and Brandon Drury all had two-hit days for the D-Backs, who will waltz into Citizens Bank Park tomorrow thinking they are about to finish a four-game sweep of the Phillies. They will probably be right.
May 19: 24-17, 1 game back of 1st place— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) June 19, 2016
June 19: 30-40, 13.5 games back of 1st place
Been a quick, hard-to-watch regression for #Phillies.
I’m starting to think the Phillies may not be the story of the year.
Ah well. Maybe Jon Snow will finally gut Ramsay Bolton tonight.