What would have made you feel better about an extra innings loss, at home, against the Mets? Would it be packing the next day’s Mets starter into a cannon and blasting him to the horizon? Great, you’re really gonna like how this game started.
Steven Matz was his name, and he stuck around for eight Phillies batters in the first inning and recorded zero outs, a period in which which he gave up four hits, eight runs (six earned), and two three-run home runs. Amed Rosario committed two errors to allow the inning to be prolonged, as well, and Matz hit the showers feeling especially dirty. And he got off light—this was a night in which Rhys Hoskins got time off to let his light ankle sprain lose its swelling. Maikel Franco started at first, Scott Kingery went to third, and Odubel Herrera was granted a night off as well, with Aaron Altherr starting in center.
Nevertheless, the Phillies offense got comfortable in a hurry. A bases-loaded double by J.T. Realmuto got the ball rolling before Kingery cleared the bases with a home run to make it 5-0. Two batters (who became base runners) later, Franco crushed his sixth home run of the extremely young season, making him, sure I’ll say it, the greatest No. 8 hitter of all time. Prove me wrong. Do it. I won’t even really care, as long you prove me wrong in a way that makes Maikel Franco stop smashing dongs.
It was 10-0 by the end of the inning, thanks to Matz’s massively hittable fastball, Rosario’s brain flatulence, and Brendan Nimmo tweaking something in his neck. It wasn’t looking good for the Metropolitans, but if you know Nick Pivetta, then you know there’s always a chance. Pivetta let the Mets score a pair of runs that made it, yes, 10-2, but we’ve seen too many games like this to feel like an eight-run berth wasn’t wide enough.
Folks, it is time to address an increasing possibility for the 2019 season: Nick Pivetta may not be there yet. And the reason he may not be there yet is because he may not actually be getting there. I know we all had the same collective dream in which we were plummeting into a chasm only to land in Pivetta’s warm, strong arms, and then jolted awake, announcing, “THIS WILL BE PIVETTA’S BREAK OUT YEAR!” But after three starts, there seems to be a growing movement rising out of the grumbling with the belief that perhaps Pivetta has not quite found that stuff that’s supposed to make him the Phillies No. 2 starter. It’s not a good thing. But neither is what Pivetta has done in 2019 to this point, as he only lasted five innings after being spotted a ten-run cushion in the first, allowing seven hits, three runs, and three walks. His ERA is 8.35.
Despite the score, this still wasn’t a great outing for Pivetta. They’re probably only going to get 5 out of him and has allowed 10 baserunners so far tonight. Still, some Improvement, though.— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) April 17, 2019
Fortunately, Realmuto had three extra-base hits by the fourth inning, when he hit a solo shot to make it 11-2. Kingery made a slick defensive play, the hot dogs were all a dollar, and in the fourth inning, a man with his pants falling down ran out onto the field to relay an important message to the Phillies outfielders, only to be silenced by stadium security.
Ran up to Harper and Altherr. Both did not flinch. The guy juked 3 security guards and broke ones ankles completely. Then proceeded to do the fortnite L dance on them all. Crazy.— Jim Bob Philly (@phillycaleb) April 17, 2019
But it wasn’t all pretty. Bryce Harper got grazed on the top of his hand with a pitch (he stayed in the game), Jean Segura experienced some tightness in his hammy (he left, but was due an off day anyway) and Kevin Frandsen may have over-gorged on dollar dogs in the radio booth. And yet, by the time Scotty Jetpax landed on second base with a two-run double in the sixth, he was a triple away from the cycle and the score was 13-3.
Jerad Eickhoff inherited the game from Pivetta, and his was the only arm the Phillies would need for the rest of the game. Eickhoff threw all four remaining innings, allowing three hits, no walks, and striking out six with a slider and that fairy tale curveball of his. Most things worked tonight, and the stuff that didn’t got covered up by the other stuff. The questions about the rotation remain, but with the lineup going off, the Phillies showed how this team can get motivated in a hurry.