For the entirety of this game, I had Scott Franzke’s golden throat crooning in my left ear while the Eagles rollercoastered my emotions on TV in front of me. It wasn’t a bad way to experience the game, especially since both teams had just on hit through four plus innings.
Of course, that means that both pitchers were humming. Stephen Strasburg was Stephen Strasburg. And Ben Lively looked really good until the sixth inning. Lively allowed three hits in the inning, and they were all extra-base hits. Trea Turner smacked a lead-off triple, and then he scored on an Adrian Sanchez double. Sanchez would score on Victor Robles’ first major league hit, a double. Things could have gotten worse from there, but Robles tried to snatch third on that double and was out. Whew.
The Phillies got their very first hit in the fifth inning, and it was a single that belonged to Maikel Franco. No runs came from it, but at least the Phillies wouldn’t be no-hit. Their second hit came in the eighth inning, and it also belonged to Maikel Franco. He was erased on an Aaron Altherr double play. (Uh, welcome back Aaron?)
But back to Lively. He allowed a homer to Trea Turner in the eighth, but that meant something important: Ben Lively pitched into the eighth inning.
Ben Lively is the first Phillies starter to throw a pitch in the eighth inning since July 8.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 10, 2017
He's the first Phillies pitcher not named Aaron Nola to do it all season.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 10, 2017
Ben Lively has figured some shit out in the late season, and I am here for it. He allowed a two-out single in the eighth, but finished the inning with just over 100 pitches.
J.P. Crawford managed to eke out the Phillies’ third hit of the day in the top of the ninth, and then Odubel Herrera got the fourth. They were both just out of the reach of fielders, and suddenly it was a game. Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis were no help, but big Nick Williams came to the plate and smashed a two-run single to bring the Phillies to within one.
But Rhys Hoskins showed his inexperience a little today. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Strasburg today, and on the first pitch from Ryan Madson he grounded out to third base to end the game. He was frustrated and didn’t do what he normally does: wait for his pitch.
Ben Lively was the only pitcher the Phillies needed today. The Phillies just needed a little more offense. And if they hadn’t been facing Strasburg, maybe they would have gotten it.