The Phillies won today 5-2, but before we get to that, we need to talk about the most important thing the Phillies will do this year as a team. You could argue that losing a zillion games and getting the first overall pick in the 2018 draft might be the most important, but you’d be wrong. This is the most important.
#SFGIants split a series against baseball's worst teams after winning first two. They are mathematically eliminated from the West.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) August 20, 2017
The Phillies eliminated the Giants from postseason contention today. They beat them and now, no matter what happens, there is no way the Giants can make the postseason.
Let’s not be silly, though. The Phillies aren’t making the postseason either. But damn this feels good. The Phillies are ostensibly worse than the Giants, but the NL West is so lopsided (the Dodgers are insane) that the Giants are already officially out of contention. This means nothing in the long run, but it makes today’s win all the more sweeter. Bye bye, Giants! See you in 2018!
I feel like 5-2 is a perfect baseball score. The offense scored a decent number of runs, the pitching staff allowed a few but not too many. Impressive all around.
Ben Lively had a great start. Six innings, six hits, two runs, two walks, and four strikeouts. That’s what you hope for from a starter like Lively. And the bullpen held firm. Adam Morgan, whose ERA has dropped below 5 finally, had another great outing. He hasn’t given up a run in the month of August.
Now let’s talk about Hector Neris. He came into the game in the bottom of the eighth with two outs and two runners on. He was facing Buster Posey. And then Neris drilled him. With the baseball! (And not with anything else, get your mind out of the gutter.) And then the bases were loaded. After the game, Buster Posey decided to let everyone know just how stupid he really is.
Posey said he has no doubt Neris drilled him on purpose. "I guess he didn't feel he could get me out."— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 20, 2017
Read that and tell me that Posey isn’t stupid. Because there is absolutely zero reason for Neris to hit Posey to load the bases with (at that time) a two-run lead! Posey is a great hitter, but he’s not THAT fearsome. His name is Buster, for the love of God. And Neris confirmed as much after the game.
Hector Neris laughed. "It's stupid because nobody who watched that said, 'Oh he hit him on purpose in that situation.' "— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 21, 2017
Hector Neris said "no chance" he hit Posey on purpose. Said it would've been "stupid" to put tying run into scoring position on purpose.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 21, 2017
Okay, maybe Posey isn’t stupid. He just has an enormous ego and an outsized opinion of himself. Like, who would actually say out loud “He didn’t think he was good enough to get me out so he drilled me, yes me, Buster, fearsome hitter of baseball. Buster! I’m Buster! Take me seriously!”
(Okay I’m done making fun of Buster for now. FOR NOW.)
The offense today had little luck against Madison Bumgarner and Mark Melancon, but a whole lotta luck against Hunter Strickland and someone named Kyle Crick. The Phillies had just four hits and one run on Bumgarner, and none on Melancon. The Giants pulled ahead in the fourth and fifth when they scored once in each of those innings.
The Phillies went into the eighth down 2-1, and the Giants just fell apart. The Phillies ran directly over the Giants in the eighth inning, and it was so satisfying. It started with a one-out single from Rhys Hoskins, and it just escalated from there. Including Hoskins’, the Phillies hit five straight singles and scored three runs. There was Rhys, then Maikel Franco (one of two hits on the day), then Jorge Alfaro after that and Nick Williams after that. And then Pedro Florimon hit a two-run single, and the Phillies were leading 4-2. (For more about Pedro Florimon and the game he had, check into the morning links in the AM. He will feature very heavily.) And then to put the cherry on top of the afternoon, Hoskins hit a solo dinger in the ninth. God yes.
And that’s it. The Phillies don’t have to see the Giants again until 2018, and neither do we. No postseason for them! And I think that’s something we can all be happy about.