Mark Leiter’s success has been interesting, but not plentiful enough to suggest he has earned a role in the 2018 rotation. It was already 4-0, thanks to be a pair of Mets home runs, when that success disappeared entirely in the fourth inning today.
Things went a little something like this for Leiter:
- [Bob McClure mutters motivational speech through mustache]
- RBI ground-out
At this point, McClure’s words of encouragement having garnered the Phillies a run-scoring out rather than just runs scoring, Pete Mackainin decided to take Leiter out on a “good” note and inserted Kevin Siegrist, a man whom I have absolutely never heard of, into the game.
I’ve recreated his experience in bullet point form as well for easier consumption.
- Wild pitch
- Strikeout (2 outs!!)
I know what you’re thinking: “Did Kevin Siegrist record an out that didn’t score a run?!?” And the answer is yes, that can happen occasionally in baseball. But not a lot. Why this historic occasion was not given more coverage by the media is on the media, frankly. Jesen Therrien was dispatched and got the last out on a ground out, but it was 10-0, and the Phillies were in a hole from which they’d never climb out.
I suppose there’s a narrative to be built around “...but the Phillies didn’t give up!”
But that’s a tough ask. On the ceremonial last day of the summer, the Phillies gave up ten runs before scoring any themselves. I wouldn’t have been mad at any of them for curling into a ball and taking a nap for the rest of the day. They did manage to make things not completely unwatchable - but only if you separate them into fragmented little moments of baseball coolness, not parts of a greater, terrible whole.
One of those moments was Nick Williams’ slide into second base, on what would be his first ever big league steal. He evaded an Asdrubal Cabrera tag with ease and grace, like a soaring superhero dodging a missile. The throw beat him, but Williams’ deft movements beat the throw.
Nick Williams' first major league steal on an insane slide pic.twitter.com/eVPg0WrnyO— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) September 4, 2017
On top of that, the Phillies scored seven runs. The pitching was a disaster, but the offense managed to do its job, even if it was at times by accident. A couple of singles led off the fifth, and Cameron Rupp’s typical weak ground out or swinging strike out (It was the former in this case) in that situation actually led to a run. The next inning, Hyun Soo Kim hit a bases-loaded double to make it 10-4, and Andres Blanco pushed him in with a single to make it 10-5.
Even in the ninth inning with two outs, the Phillies kept at it. Freddy Galvis had an RBI single after had Blanco reached and went to second when the Mets used a “who-gives-a-****” style of defense on his stolen base. Pinch hitter Odubel Herrera knocked Galvis in (Keeping a now 18-game hit streak alive with only a single AB!), and with Rhys Hoskins coming to the plate (already with two walks on the day!), the Phillies had a chance to pull within two! With two outs! In the ninth! Hoskins gave it a ride, but his fly-out completed a long, warm afternoon.
The first 1-2-3 inning by Phillies had been in the first inning. The second 1-2-3 inning had come in the eighth. It doesn’t take much to see where the problem was today. The offense can belch and fart its way into a couple of screw-ups, but at the end of the day, they put up seven runs against a fourth place team. That should really be should be enough for the W.
But as Mackanin has said of late, this pitching staff just needs an upgrade. We’re at the point where observations like that are telling us where the team will have hopefully improved by next Labor Day. And perhaps a glimpse of that team is on its way?
The IronPigs win today, so they clinch a postseason berth. Likely to delay J.P. Crawford's promotion to Phillies.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) September 4, 2017