You might say none of us were even watching tonight to see a win. You might say we just wanted to catch a glimpse of Aaron Nola, pitching on 15 days rest, throwing like he had earlier in the season. Was over two weeks enough for the kid to get right? Had he shaken the cobwebs off? Wh... why was he covered with so many cobwebs?
For those who tuned in for this reason, it was a good night. Nola sauteed the Fish, allowing only two hits and one walk, as well as five strikeouts, through six innings. Bob McClure could only watch from the dugout, massaging his mustache in satisfaction, according to Meghan Montemurro.
McClure wanted to see three things from Nola during his outing: attack hitters, mix his pitches and get ahead of hitters. That's exactly what McClure and the Phillies witnessed.
He fired heaters and change-ups with the command we'd dreamed of, tickling that outside corner without mercy. Combined with the 10 straight hitters Nola retired to end the first half, he set down 17 more tonight, giving himself what we can all agree is a perfect game in two parts. Only problem was, the kid in the Marlins uniform matched a career high in K’s with 14, including the 500th of his four-year career.
The other problem was that Nola got tagged in the shoulder by a comebacker in the sixth off the bat of Adeiny Hechevarria. He stayed in the game and finished the inning.
Meanwhile, the AB-murdering Fernandez was so efficient that the story of this game probably would have been how rookie Tommy Joseph beat him with a sky-seeking solo shot to make it 2-0, had the Phillies managed to complete the shut-out and surpass the Dodgers for the most wins of that kind in all of baseball. But no; they wasted not only Nola’s start and Joseph’s jack, but the move that had made it 1-0 in the first, Odubel Herrera’s heads-up advancement to third base as the catcher threw down to first on a Peter Bourjos strikeout. Maikel Franco knocked him in with an RBI ground-out..
Nola handed things off to Edubray Ramos and Hector Neris in the seventh and eighth, who pitched through a pair of runless, hitless half-inning affairs and each recorded a strikeout. Then Jeanmar Gomez came out for the ninth with the chance to
fatten up his trade value save the game.
Two outs appeared on the board, but you know based either on the fact that this is not the last paragraph of this recap or the fact that you watched the game yourself, that the Phillies did not record that last one. At least not at first.
Tonight’s little disaster came with two outs, when J.T. Realmuto was doubled in to make it a 2-1 game by Christian Yelich, bringing to the plate - as the go-ahead run - the guy I’ve been warning you about since this afternoon.
Gomez wanted to get Stanton - who was 0-for-5 against Gomez lifetime - to chase a little too much and hurled a pitch at the backstop on a three-ball count, sending Stanton to first and Yelich to third. Don’t worry, it was only Marcell Ozuna Gomez had to face next - and it was HE who punched in the tying run - Stanton had just been the deocy - and blew Gomez’s third save of the year. Fortunately, Odubel Herrera shit-canned pinch runner Yefri Perez at third to end the inning with the game tied 2-2.
Fernando Rodney was deployed in the ninth, to the chagrin of correctly-worn hat enthusiasts everywhere. There was chagrin aplenty in that half of an inning, in fact, as the Phillies went down thanks to a line out sandwiched by a pair of K’s. Both teams poked at each other with base runners in the 10th, though it was only the actions of Cody Asche in left field that kept things at 2-2 on David Hernandez’s watch.
Martin Prado had struck out in a key spot in the ninth, playing against type from his natural role as Ruiner of Phillies Times. When he came back up in the 11th, he wasn’t going to blow his shot a second time. Brett Oberholtzer Oberholtzer’d a pitch in there and Prado parked it in the left center field seats. It doesn’t matter what happened next. Did three of the Phillies biggest producers go down quietly? Yes they did.
This game is over now, with only those of us who went to bed when there were two outs in the ninth sleeping restfully. Perhaps we should join them in seeking a dream world in which Martin Prado is kept safely quarantined in an underground bunker, where a being with his powers should be.