Until today, every single game the Phillies have played in those nickname uniforms has been some shade of abysmal. It felt like they were cursed somehow. But today, they washed that stink off and got an 8-3 win over the Blue Jays. And not in spite of themselves, either. The offense, defense, starting pitching, and bullpen all performed well. It was an all-around great performance.
The Phillies set the tone in the first inning. They were all over Marco “Estratosphere” Estrada. Cesar Hernadez struck out, but Estrada was wild. Hoskins hit his 26th dinger of the year next, and that was followed by a dinger from Carlos Santana.
Big Fella. Slamtana.— MLB (@MLB) August 26, 2018
See ya. ✌️ pic.twitter.com/Vp1x8mMLhL
I don’t know about you, but I personally like it when Phillies hitters hit back-to-back home runs. Reasonable people can disagree! Wait, actually I meant “enormous idiot fool wiener people can disagree with me.” That’s more like it.
It was a two-run inning, but it could have been so much more. Wilson Ramos hit a single next, and Nick Williams hit a ground rule double. But two straight strikeouts ended the Phillies’ hopes of getting more runs.
In the second inning, Estrada stayed wild and walked both Scott Kingery and Cesar Hernandez. After a flyout and a pop-out, it almost looked like the Phillies were going to end the inning with no runs. But then Wilson Ramos, THA GOAT, hit a ground rule double to score Kingery, who had stolen third.
The third inning saw the Phillies get two more runs on a Maikel Franco homer, which he hit on his 26th birthday. (He’s only 26, can you believe that?)
Compa F out here giving out gifts on his own birthday.#BeLikeMaik | #BeBold pic.twitter.com/oObklEPgeJ— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 26, 2018
GLORIOUS. But they left two runners on base at the end of the inning. Again. Estrada also departed from the game, having given the Phillies a five-run lead to work with.
We know what happens to five run leads, don’t we?
Until the bottom of the third, Vince Velasquez had been looking decent. But Kendrys Morales would not be denied. After Vinny allowed a double to Billy McKinney (who? yeah), Morales homered for his seventh straight game, cutting the Phils’ lead to three runs.
And then the game just stopped. Or it felt like it just stopped. The Phillies kept getting hits, but they couldn’t capitalize. Vince Velasquez went five innings, and then the relievers came in. Luis Garcia was up first and gave me agita, but made it through without letting a run cross the plate. Hector Neris pitched a fantastic seventh, and he’s looking more and more like the sharp Neris from way back when.
The Phillies exploded in the eighth inning, putting a hurting on Tyler Clippard. Hernandez led off with a walk, and then Hoskins singled, and Wilson Ramos homered just one batter later.
Q: What did the Buffalo say to the baseball after he hit it into orbit?— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 26, 2018
A: BYE-SON! pic.twitter.com/Zsmp2tEktq
Ramos went 4-for-5 today, which is bonkers and great. Look at what can happen to the offense when you start more than one player who looks good at the plate, it’s amazing. And the lead was at six runs! Everyone sigh in relief, right!
Sigh. A five-run lead. Tommy Hunter came out and allowed a homer after getting two outs, narrowing the lead to the ever precarious five runs. (Yeah, I’m calling a five-run lead “precarious.” Tell me it’s not.) But they only had to survive one more inning.
And the Phillies put their money on Seranthony Dominguez in the ninth inning. Deep breath. Deep breath. Don’t hyperventilate.
And exhale. He got three quick outs and the Phillies nailed down a 8-3 win. They can get on the plane back to Philly with a little happiness. And we can all enjoy our evening knowing the Phillies get a win.
And in the dead of night, somewhere in the bowels of Citizens Bank Park, Jake Arrieta will strike a match. He’ll throw that match on a pile of Phillies Players Weekend jerseys and watch them burn. Then he’ll sweep up the ash, seal them in a jar, drive to the shore, charter a boat, cruise several miles onto the ocean, and hurl that jar deep into the harsh depths of the sea. “The curse has been lifted” he’ll say.