Earlier this week, it became obvious that the Phillies’ front office doesn’t think very highly of the team’s chances. Their inaction at the trade deadline (aside, of course, for the trades for Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilson Ramos, and Aaron Loup), showed that management wasn’t “all in” on this team, and didn’t believe they were true contenders.
Much like the fictional Indians in the movie Major League, the 2018 Phillies appear determined to prove ownership wrong and make their way to the postseason. Their latest step in this improbable journey was a 5-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
Here are some of the highlights:
Shane Victorino was on hand after signing a one-day contract so he could retire as a Phillie. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Ryan Howard, and things might have gotten a little dusty when they embraced afterwards.
Vince Velasquez Continues to Dominate
Vince Velasquez has been on a roll recently, only allowing two earned runs in the month of July. He didn’t slow down on Friday night, delivering arguably his best start of the season. In 6.1 innings, he only allowed three runners to reach base while striking out seven. He likely could have pitched deeper into the game, but the Phillies seem to be attempting to limit his innings.
If the dominating pitching wasn’t enough, Velasquez also scored the team’s first run when he doubled in the third inning and was later driven home by a Rhys Hoskins single.
Nice Encore, Maikel
How do you follow up a game-winning home run? By making a spectacular defensive play. Here’s Maikel Franco throwing out a runner while sitting on his butt:
Us: Wow, gonna be a tough play.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 4, 2018
Maik: *very Shannon Sharpe voice* that ain't no problem, that ain't no problem. pic.twitter.com/xYO97XFDFj
The Offense: Better Late Than Never
The Phillies needed Velasquez to be dominant, because their offense was quiet for most of the game. Velasquez’s run was the only one they could manage until the seventh inning when they scored again via wild pitch.
Finally, thanks in part to some very shaky fielding by the Marlins, the Phillies broke through with three insurance runs in the eighth. Jorge Alfaro drove in a run with a long single to center, and then Roman Quinn doubled home two more.
Seranthony Closes it Out
In the eighth inning, for the first time as a member of the Phillies, Pat Neshek allowed a run at home. With the tying run on third base and the dangerous J.T. Realmuto at the plate, manager Gabe Kapler called upon Seranthony Dominguez. Three pitches later, and the threat was over.
Thanks to the Phillies’ rally in the bottom of the inning, Dominguez had his first major league at bat. It didn’t go so well, as he lost his grip on the bat on one swing before striking out.
But the Phillies don’t expect him to hit well, they expect him to pitch well. And that’s what he did in the ninth as he worked around a double to earn the save.
It was a hard fought victory which allowed the Phillies to maintain their lead in the National League East for another day. Perhaps the team’s front office doesn’t think very highly of their chances, but it is becoming clear that the players believe. Can they continue to defy the low expectations? Tune in tomorrow.