It was hundreds of miles from the scene of Nick Fanti’s no-hitter where plot points of the 2017 Phillies’ second half converged in the dry fish bowl the Marlins call home. Early in the day, our nerves were fried from continued prodding by national writers, who claimed that the Phillies were looking to get Christian Yelich in their outfield, a rumor that had surfaced weeks ago as part of a whisper that the Phillies were also interested in Giancarlo Stanton. Also, the Phillies were interested in Dee Gordon, or something. That one was less of a whisper and more of a belch.
And wouldn’t you know it, with all those rumors in the air, it was the Marlins who the Phillies would be playing tonight. Stanton did his job and almost successfully homered in every at-bat in which he wasn’t being intentionally avoided. Yelich had a less successful night at the plate. Gordon was I guess running around in a circle somewhere. But Stanton’s thunder (he homered twice) was bad news for Jerad Eickhoff, who was victimized by his first blast in the first inning and by his second in the fifth, and then again by some Justin Bour thunder in also the fifth. In total, the home runs cost Eickhoff five earned runs on a night in which he also issued four walks. Not a start distinguished by stellar control as Eickhoff climbs back from the disabled list, though he did strike out eight Marlins - including Yelich.
Fortunately for Eickhoff, his offense backed him up, thanks in large part to the return of Cesar Hernandez at the top of the order and the heart of the order able to do more than nothing to get him in. The Phillies overcame the initial 2-0 deficit in the third thanks to Hernandez’s two-out walk, which gave Freddy Galvis the chance to get the dust off his bat with an RBI double. Odubel Herrera drew a free pass from Miami starter Tom Koehler and a Maikel Franco single and a Nick Williams double (one of two for the rook on the night) kept the line moving. By the time they left the field, the Phillies were up 4-2.
Eickhoff came back out after his aforementioned three-run fifth and survived a scoreless sixth before calling it a night. He departed down 5-4, but Hernandez found a way to be effective after the Phillies cobbled together a “rally” on an Andrew Knapp walk, a Brock Stassi HBP, and an Andres Blanco sacrifice bunt. Hernandez launched a fly ball deep enough to tie the game, and when Galvis subsequently flew out to end the inning, four Phillies hitters had forced a run across with no hits on pure small ball.
It was gross.
But nevertheless, the game was tied. The Phillies had a big chance with the bases loaded in the eighth, but, take it away, John Stolnis:
So with the bases loaded & 1 out Brock Stassi & Daniel Nava BOTH strike out with the bat on their shoulders. This is why the Phillies lose.— John Stolnis (@FelskeFiles) July 18, 2017
Nobody escapes Philadelphia with the bat on their shoulder, potential trade chip Daniel Nava.
The game plunged into extras and quickly out of control. While Pat Neshek waited patiently to be traded in the bullpen, the Phillies deployed Mark Leiter, Jr. and awaited the inevitable in the tenth.
The Phillies have 9 walk-off losses this season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2017
No other team has more than 6.
Despair is all too familiar a notion in extra-inning games - or games in general, or when you get out of bed as a Phillies fan in 2017. But, this was one loss in a franchise full of moving parts. Not only did this day see an organizational no-hitter, but elsewhere in the region, a young hitter was putting the bat on the ball.
J.P. Crawford has hit 6 home runs this month.— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) July 18, 2017
Giving up on a 22-year-old SS prospect with elite plate discipline isn't the best idea.