Okay, who is this Phillies team and what did you do with the other one? Well, it’s a Phillies team that now has a three-game winning streak and some signs of life, thanks to an 11-4 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
And hey, it certainly didn’t hurt that after a weekend of swinging hot bats in Philadelphia, the Phillies found themselves up against a guy with a 6.99 ERA heading into Monday’s action. That guy would be Bartolo Colon, who, quite frankly, the Phillies have had some trouble with over the years. But 2017 hasn’t been kind to Colon. He is 44 years old after all, so that may have something to do with it. But don’t count the Phillies among those feeling bad for Bartolo.
Colon must have been just the guy the Phillies wanted to see in their first ever game at brand new SunTrust Park in Atlanta though, because they lit him up for eight earned runs in his 3 2⁄3 innings pitched.
It’s certainly a refreshing feeling to not be buried for the evening before you’re even able to reach for a post-dinner snack. It’s even more refreshing to see three first inning runs go on the board. Thank an RBI single from Aaron Altherr and a long two-run homerun to left from Tommy Joseph for that. And thank Odubel Herrera for his hot hitting continuing.
After lobbing another double down the line in left in the first and scoring on Altherr’s single, Herrera doubled again in the 3rd inning, his third straight game with two doubles. Per the stat folks, that’s the first time in Phillies history a player has had two doubles in three consecutive games. Not too bad for a guy who had truly just about hit rock bottom last week.
But it didn’t end there for Odubel. El Torito struck again as part of a five-run 4th inning, scorching a two-run homer to right that gave us our first bit of trickery with SunTrust Park’s ground rules. Nick Markakis fielded the ball off the top of the wall and seemed to be the first person to know that it was a homerun because it went over the designated line. After the umpires finally seemed to figure that out, Herrera was awarded the homer, giving the Phillies a 9(!)-0 lead. He finished 3-for-5 for the night with a homer and his two doubles.
Of course, because it’s the 2017 Phillies, not every single thing can go right. Nick Pivetta, back up from AAA to make his fifth start of the year, took a Matt Adams ground ball off his pitching hand in the bottom half of the 4th. After getting checked out and throwing some warmup tosses, Pivetta stayed in the game. He had to be checked out again two batters later after dealing a four-pitch walk to Rio Ruiz. However, Pivetta stayed in the game once more. He did seem a bit uncomfortable for the rest of his outing, and Pete Mackanin noted as such in his post-game press conference.
Pivetta was able to get through five innings, and allowed three earned runs on the evening. He never really seemed truly sharp for any long stretch, but did flash a 94 MPH fastball with some life on it. He walked three batters and struck out four, and hey, he picked up the all-important pitcher win, his first in the Majors.
In other news, because the Phillies do indeed have to send someone to the All-Star Game in about five weeks, we’re accepting nominations now. Altherr seems interested in going to Miami. He crushed a two-run homerun in the 8th inning to go with his first inning RBI single. He now has nine homers this season. The race for the unnecessary All-Star nod is on.