The Phillies big win over the Giants notwithstanding, Wednesday night was not a happy one for most of the sports fans of Philadelphia. As they had done all series, the 76ers took a game that seemed quite winnable, and found a way not to win it. The loss marked the end of the Sixers’ season, which meant that the Phillies would be the only real show in town until Eagles preseason starts up in August.
The fans who have been largely distracted by the fortunes of the local basketball team may be pleasantly surprised to find that the Phillies are having a pretty good week at the expense of the San Francisco Giants. The Phils won the first three games by a total score of 26-5, and would be attempting to sweep their rivals from the Bay on Thursday afternoon.
If any of those newly-attentive Phillies fans wanted to watch the Phillies on Thursday afternoon, they would need a Facebook account to do so, as this marked the third time in this still-young season that one of the Phillies’ contests would be shown exclusively on the social media platform.
Facebook is still working to improve their product. Perhaps I’m showing my age, but I feel that silent mode should be the default, as having emojis float in front of the action does not enhance the viewing experience. I could also use less of in-game reporter Alexa Datt who sometimes gives off the impression that she had never attended a baseball game before.
Sub-optimal viewing experience aside, the game was a good one for the Phillies, as they finished off the sweep with a come-from-behind 6-3 win.
Here are some of the highlights from the win:
Good Vince Supplants Bad Vince
Early in the game, it looked like we were getting the bad version of Vince Velasquez. He surrendered a leadoff home run to Gregor Blanco, and then walked the second batter of the game on four pitches. He was able to escape the inning without further damage, but then allowed a two-run homer to Alen Hansen in the second.
When Velasquez gets off to a poor start, it usually means we’re in for an agonizing stretch of nibbling, and a relief pitcher before the fifth inning. Instead, Bad Vince took a seat and Good Vince took over. And Good Vince was a near-unhittable strikeout machine.
Over the next five innings, Velasquez allowed only two hits while striking out ten batters, giving him a total of 12 on the day. I certainly did not see that coming.
Santana Continues to Destroy the Giants
Carlos Santana has been so hot in this series that it’s difficult to remember a time when he wasn’t pounding the ball. His three-run home run in the fourth inning gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish.
On the negative side, Santana appeared to hurt his knee while making an impressive defensive play in the seventh inning:
It would be a shame if he had to go on the disabled list just as the fans were beginning to appreciate him.
Odubel Extends the Streak
At this point, I shouldn’t even have to mention that Odubel Herrera reached base. From now on, we’ll just work on the assumption that he found a way to get on base and extend his on-base streak. For game 39 of the streak, all he did was go 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBIs.
And if you take a peek atop the National League batting leaders, you might be surprised by what you see:
Going 3-for-4 today, Odubel Herrera has expanded his lead as the MLB leader in batting average, now at .353.— Ben Harris (@byBenHarris) May 10, 2018
Even Hector Neris was Awesome
After his performance on Sunday, many Phillies fans would have been happy if Hector Neris was never given another opportunity to close a game. Those fans will seemingly not get their wish as Neris made quick work of the Giants in the ninth, earning his second save of the series.
Farewell, Dear Giants
After this four-game series, the Phillies will be sad to see the Giants leave town. In their stead will be the New York Mets, and the Phillies have had a considerably more difficult time when facing their divisional opponents this season. But if the Phillies can continue to play as well as they have these past four games, it might not matter who their opponent is. And maybe some of those despairing Sixers fans will learn to trust the building process for another of the city’s teams.