Tonight was Alfaro's first major league start. It went not great, including a wild pitch where he just failed to pick up the baseball to throw home leading to the Pirates' second run. Otherwise, he did well behind the plate, but his 4 trips to plate were ugly. He flailed at 3 straight pitches in his first time up.
Alec Asher was a mixed bag for the Phillies tonight. He infinitely improved his strikeout rate, sending 4 batters back to the dugout. The two runs he gave up were less than expected, given that it seemed like the Pirates were perpetually hitting the ball hard off him. The stats say he had a quality start, but it was also an incredibly boring start. as the first 6 innings lasted infinitely longer than the two hours they took to complete.
The Phillies bullpen took over for Asher with one out in the 7th, livening up the pace ever so slightly. Michael Mariot managed to walk a batter before throwing the wild slider that Alfaro failed to corral. Joely Rodriguez uncorked some nice sliders and a 96 mph fastball to get his one out. Hector Neris did Hector Neris things. Jeanmar Gomez failed to record an out before giving up the game to Sean Rodriguez.
In all, it was a bit of a snoozefest, though there were some highlights. Ryan Howard managed to beat a poorly fielded ball to first, which prompted Clint Hurdle to throw a bit of a tantrum. He got to go home early. Lucky him.
The real takeaway tonight is Roman Quinn.
Roman Quinn struck out in his first at bat, which was really disappointing.
In the 4th, Quinn leisurely trotted to first base on single up the middle before magically teleporting to second base on a ball that bounced maybe three feet from the catcher. Then he scored from second when Adam Frazier tried to field a ball with his foot.
Quinn's night only got better in his next at bat, when he dropped a bunt and reached first before Ivan Nova could field the baseball. He then drew a walk in a tough at bat off of Felipe Rivero, eventually making his way to third with only one out, bases loaded behind him.
All Freddy Galvis had to do was not strike out and Quinn would score.
Freddy Galvis did not strike out.
Instead he hit one deep to McCutchen, giving Quinn more than enough time to run home.
For a brief bit of time youth had given the Phillies a victory. Alas, it was only a glimpse, as Rodriguez's homer landed in the stands. But as the Phillies struggle towards the end of the year, glimpses are all we get.
There is no joy in Mudville today. Maybe next year.
Tonight's recap is a collaboration between me and my partner Caite who managed to keep us both awake and only mostly bored throughout the game.