For Phillies fans who enjoyed the full program of festivities in Williamsport leading up to this evening’s Little League Classic, perhaps tonight’s game was simply a blot on an otherwise lovely day, like a disappointing desert after a great meal. But for those of us whose experience was limited to the game, this was a multi-dimensional crap sandwich with ingredients including:
- Yet another throttling by a slop-balling pitcher whose ugly stats suggested he hasn’t done this to many other teams in 2018
- Yet another series loss to the Mets, who are poised to run their season-series win streak against the Phils to a mind-bending seven years
- A missed chance to reclaim first place in the NL East, and slippage back to a tie for a wild-card berth
To be fair, Mets starter Jason Vargas is a bit better qualified than most guys lugging around an 8.10 ERA in mid-August. Something of a Jamie Moyer type stuff-wise—per Fangraphs, Vargas’ average fastball velocity hasn’t topped 88 miles per hour since his rookie year of 2005--just last year he was an AL all-star who tied for the league lead in wins. Even so, through his first 11 starts this season, he didn’t finish more than five innings, and his ERA hasn’t been below 7.39 all year. So, needless to say, he held the Phils to three hits and no runs through his first five tonight. They finally broke through in the sixth on a two-run Carlos Santana homer, but by then it was 7-2.
Phils starter Nick Pivetta is the opposite of Vargas: most everything comes in hard, and when his pitches are moving he can dominate. Unfortunately, he can also be timed, and the Mets strung together five singles in the second inning, the last a two-run knock by Amed Rosario, to take a 4-0 lead. Pivetta was charged with two more runs in the fourth, as his evening reached an early conclusion, though he was out of the game by the time Jeff McNeil knocked them in:
Adam Morgan has inherited 34 runners, and 11 have scored.— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) August 20, 2018
The loss dropped the Phillies’ 2018 record against the Mets to 5-9, putting them on the brink of a seventh straight season series defeat:
The teams face off five more times in September.
To ease the pain a little bit, recall that we get to celebrate Bobby Bonilla Day every July 1 for 17 more years.