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His name is A.J.: Phillies 5, Mets 1

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A.J. Ellis impressed in his first start, and I think everything is going to be okay.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets
Welcome to the Phillies, A.J.
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets may have spanked the Phillies two games in a row, but today the Phillies got them back. Well, A.J. Ellis got them back. In his first start since heartbreakingly joining the Phillies last week, Ellis was everything.

Ellis managed five pitchers through nine innings in one of the toughest environments the Phillies play in. The Mets may be spanking the Phillies in the standings and their old nemeses Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are no longer on the team, but Mets fans boo the Phillies like the world has been frozen in time since 2007 or 2008. And on top of the boos, the Phillies typically play like shit at Citi Field. Ellis guided five pitchers through a game where they gave up a combined seven hits, one run, and one walk. That’s not bad for pitchers hurling to the new guy. The trials and tribulations of Vince Velasquez continue, because while he only gave up five hits and the game’s only run, he threw 103 pitches in five innings, which is simply not sustainable. The rest of the Phillies bullpen was spotless.

Ellis’ excellent performance wasn’t just limited to backstop. He hit a big two-run double in the seventh inning which broke the tie with the Mets and put the Phillies up 3-1. Those runs would be all they’d need to win the game, but the Phillies weren’t done scoring. Mets pitcher Hansel Robles intentionally walked Freddy Galvis to load the bases, and then hit poor Peter Bourjous on the hand or wrist, which scored another run. Cesar Hernandez hit a sac fly to round out the scoring and bring the Phillies to 5-1.

It’s gotta be so tough being traded like Ellis was. Completely by surprise, leaving the only team he’s ever known, friends he saw every day who made his life whole, a home and a life he created as a back-up catcher. Though it’s always a possibility for a guy without a no-trade clause or 10-and-5 rights to be traded, he probably never thought it would happen until Andrew Friedman told him to hit the road. And fan reaction to this trade on the Phillies side wasn’t about Ellis at all; it was about losing Carlos Ruiz. But it seems like Ellis is going to be easy to love as well. When he was hitting high fives with his new teammates and talking to Gregg Murphy after the game, he looked excited, happy, and reenergized. Not a lot of players can jump on to this sinking ship of a team and feel that way. But seeing his smile made me realize “yeah, we’re all gonna be all right.”

Welcome to the family, A.J. We’re happy you’re here.