When Jerad Eickhoff walked three Angels in the bottom of the first, it became clear that the weaker-willed of the observers would retreat to tasks they’d deemed more worthy of their time than watching the Phillies get swept out of L.A.
"Third walk of the inning for Eickhoff." And that's my cue to exit.— Justin Klugh (@justin_klugh) August 4, 2017
Don’t forget there was a Mike Trout dinger somewhere between the walks that turned Eickhoff’s curve into a 2-0 game in favor of the Halos, but to be fair, that’s quite a feat for anyone, as opponents were hitting .153 against that loopy pitch when the night started.
Yet when Eickhoff miraculously held the Angels - who had outscored the Phillies 14-1 in the first two games of this series - to just those two runs in the first, and then Nick Williams tied things up with a two-run tater in the second, even the most cowardly among us crept back into the room, hoping no one had noticed they’d left.
And you know what? Eickhoff calmed himself down after two innings (through which he needed 58 pitches) and lasted six innings (through which he threw 98 pitches), pushing the Phillies through into the seventh. The seventh. A number of innings huge for a tired bullpen and also for a Phillies starter in 2017 A.D. He departed with four walks, yes, but only having allowed three hits, three earned runs (a sac fly in the fourth after a lead-off double made it 4-3), and striking out five. Not the sweetest line, but he didn’t let Trout and Albert Pujols hold his face down in the dirt of the pitching mound while their teammates circled the bases, so, let’s call it a win. Because for a while - after Williams’ home run and Freddy Galvis’ two-run single that followed it - it looked like a win.
Maybe this isn’t hell after all, guys.
Odubel Herrera helped Eickhoff out with a slick catch at the wall, showcasing that sparkling defense that somehow doesn’t get mentioned when people whine about him doing anything else. It was the sort of catch Trout couldn’t make on Williams’ second inning home run. I mean, who is this Trout guy? Is he even good? Even Maikel Franco had a hit, breaking his latest 0-for-11 streak. Oh, Maikel. When are you going to... do something good regularly.
The one-run lead did require a blood sacrifice, so Andrew Knapp left with a bruised right hand thanks to a foul ball, forcing Cameron Rupp into action, which is to say inaction, as he struck out twice and grounded out to the pitcher with the bases loaded. That meant, in the seventh inning the slim one-run margin was left to Edubray Ramos, who kept his pitches down, and Luis Garcia in the eighth, who didn’t, and allowed runners onto second and third base with no outs.
Tom McCarthy suggested Garcia could strike out the next three batters to escape the jam. A daring plan; and one that did not occur almost immediately, as the Angels tied it up with an RBI ground-out from C.J. Cron that made it 4-4. Garcia kept a close eye on Andrelton Simmons on second base, who had missed a chance to move up a bag on the ground-out and seemed eager to be on third. He got there on a fly ball, and with two outs, Garcia and the Phillies danced closer to the razor’s edge. They went over it as Garcia’s wild pitch streaked over Rupp’s mitt and Simmons dashed home to make it 5-4.
Freddy put a charge into a ball that didn’t leave the stadium in the ninth. But the Phillies left the stadium shortly after with a 5-4 loss, a 3-0 sweep, and a spectacular losing streak in tact.
Phillies have lost 12 straight to the Angels, longest losing streak by any team in interleague history.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) August 4, 2017