In the game thread tonight, I lamented that Aaron Altherr and his ::checks notes:: “crappy hitting” would be in the center field instead of Odubel Herrera. While we don’t know what would have happened with this game if Odubel had started, I know this is true: without Aaron Altherr, the Phillies probably wouldn’t have won this game.
But they did win! They beat the Marlins 2-0, and Altherr had a ton to do with it.
In the second inning, he hit a double that scored the first (and until the ninth, the only) run of the game. And in the sixth, he expertly played a long fly ball off the right field wall and hurled it into the infield, which resulted in Jorge Alfaro tagging Cameron Maybin at the plate. It saved a run, which was of vital importance at the time.
In truth, it was a group effort, as it always is. While Altherr started the relay that nabbed Maybin, Scott Kingery is who really gave it the right oomph and trajectory that allowed Alfaro to tag Maybin out. And it was Kingery and Alfaro who both singled before Altherr in the second inning, which is how a run crossed the plate when Altherr singled. Maikel Franco homered in the ninth to give the Phillies one more run’s worth of breathing room.
And of course, Jake Arrieta pitched seven scoreless innings, which is how the Phillies offense was able to get away with scoring just two runs on Wei-Yin Chen, who had an ERA over six coming into this game. (Woof.)
The Rhineland Rocket may have shone brightly, but it was a team effort, just as it should be. Just two more games left until the All-Star break!
And not that it’s important, but the Braves and Nationals both lost, which means the Phillies are up 1.5 games over the Braves and 6.5 on the Nats. NOT THAT THOSE FACTS ARE IMPORTANT OR ANYTHING, JUST POINTING IT OUT!
(First place, baby!)