The Phillies are the only big league team with a double digit number of shut-outs (11). Does that make them better than the Dodgers and Mets, who both have nine? Yes it does.
Moving along, this game was, for a long time, quite the yawn. Jeremy Hellickson continued his recent dominance of the Marlins, but with this Phillies team, if you’re a pitcher pitching a shut-out, chances are you’re leaving with the score tied. Hellickson was magnificent - truly, any team would be lucky to have him; look at him out there, handsomely setting down Miami hitters. I’d say the only way to defeat him is to acquire him. He put down the first nine hitters he faced, and after a bit of trouble, got another stretch of nine hitters out from the fourth to the seventh inning.
Well, Jeremy Hellickson is done. His last two starts:— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) July 26, 2016
14 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
David Hernandez and Hector Neris nailed down two clean innings, and Jeanmar Gomez, with the help of a diving catch of a comebacker, took care of business in the ninth.
Now, if you’re looking at the headline, you can obviously see the Phillies scored four runs tonight. However, if you also watched the first seven innings of this contest, you would have had a hard time believing that either one of these squads could squeeze a run in, let alone four of them.
For instance, if you were taking a peak some time around the seventh inning, you would have seen Cameron Rupp and Freddy Galvis reach base, and then move up to second and third on a throwing miscue. Two runners in scoring position? No outs? How can they not score he—
Before that rhetorical question could be asked, the Phillies answered it when Cody Asche, Peter Bourjos, and Ryan Howard struck out right in a row. It was honestly incredible.
So, when the eighth inning rolled around and the Phillies led it off with a pair of K’s, odds were pretty good it was going to be the same kind of inning they typically put together. But a Tommy Joseph double following a Maikel Franco walk actually led to Franco crossing the plate (though his helmet didn’t make it).
In the ninth, the Phillies used an Asche HBP, a Bourjos bunt, and a Jimmy Paredes sac bunt to get two runners on - with some help from the Marlins defense - and Cesar Hernandez singled in pinch runner Tyler Goeddel. Odubel Herrera followed with a fielder’s choice that scored both Bourjos and Hernandez thanks to another Marlins throwing error. It felt like the least amount of baseball that could be played to result in four runs. But it did.
You can fill in the rest of the game with weird crap: Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos threw an intentional ball at 92 m.p.h. that soared easily past the catcher to the backstop. Cody Asche broke his 0-for-26 slump, and Peter Bourjos almost broke his own slump, but the bunt on which he safely reached first was called an error on Miami first baseman Don Kelly. Hellickson and Joseph almost collided trying to catch a pop-up. Oh and get this: Cesar Hernandez, brain relentlessly farting on the base paths again, inexplicably ran to third base and slid past the bag by about ten feet on a ground-out.
Not a lot of people looked good, and Pete Mackanin probably won’t find this the most satisfying victory of his managerial career, but the score is the score. Tomorrow night, Jerad Eickhoff will try to defeat the month of July, which has been ungodly cruel to him. Only Tom Koehler will stand in his way.