The Phillies have played some extraordinarily boring games this season. But this time, they managed to get out of it with a win.
But here’s the thing: boring games are good games, at least on one level. Ben Lively had a stellar start, pitching six innings and giving up one run, three walks, and striking out four. The bullpen followed with three scoreless innings, which included Hector Neris getting the save.
I wish there was more to say. Lively was good. The bullpen was good. The offense, well... the offense is the reason there isn’t more to say. The Phillies scored in the sixth inning to tie the game. Carlos Santana hit a single (he was 2-for-4 tonight), and then Odubel Herrera singled (more about him in a moment), and then Rhys Hoskins scored Santana on a forceout. It was just that exciting.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Phillies had another chance. Cesar Hernandez hit a lead-off double, and then Santana sacrificed him to third. And then Odubel, our lovely, wonderful, passionate, genius Odubel, stepped to the plate. And he knocked a triple and broke the tie. And holy crap was he excited.
Odubel triples and gives the Phillies the lead. pic.twitter.com/xSdkFUOxVm— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) April 21, 2018
Rhys Hoskins followed with a walk, and of course, I have to mention what happened after that.
The Phillies ran into a 1-3-4-2-5-8-7 double caught stealing. That's... amazing.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 21, 2018
There were seven (!!) Pirates involved on that double play. 1-3-4-2-5-8-7 in the ol' scorebook. Seven players, none touched the ball more than once. That has to be some sort of record.— Ben Harris (@byBenHarris) April 21, 2018
Okay. I’ve watched the play a bunch of times now, and this is my interpretation of what happened. The pitcher threw over to first base because Hoskins was wandering off the bag, and guess what? He was 100% caught off the bag and would have been out right then. But Herrera over at third had drawn the first baseman’s attention because he was a little too far off the bag. Perhaps it was because he thought Hoskins was going to keep the Pirates tied up long enough so he could score, but I have no idea. So the ball was thrown over to Odubel. And after that, it was all a mess. Odubel was caught in a rundown between third and home, and after he was tagged, Hoskins was caught as well. It wasn’t pretty.
I won’t lie, one day that kind of stuff will matter. It could be tomorrow or Sunday or anytime. But tonight, it didn’t. And all we can hope is that both Rhys, who started this by wandering too far off first base, and Odubel, will learn from this and do better in the future. We have no reason to think they won’t. And it’s fair to point something out.
So far this year, Rhys Hoskins has run into more outs on the basepaths than Odubel Herrera with boneheaded plays. This is not a slam of Hoskins. This is in defense of Herrera.— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) April 21, 2018
Bottom line: the Phillies won. They outplayed the Pirates and they deserved to win.
Phillies 2, Pirates 1. The Phillies are 12-7. Their rotation has the best ERA in the National League. They are 7-1 at home.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 21, 2018
And by the way, that 7-1 start at home is the Phillies’ best since 1981.