The nice thing about having an end-of-season collapse closer to the beginning of the season is that when the inevitable resurgence happens, there’s still time for it to mean something. The “bats wake up” game was going to happen, though the longer the Phillies seven-game losing streak continued, the harder it was to envision. But on Monday night, the Phillies reminded us what it looks like when their lineup thunders through an ineffective opposing starter, this time the Mets’ Steven Matz.
Plenty of sarcastic comments were fired off in the top of the first after the Mets built their 2-0 lead off Zach Eflin. The Phillies most consistently okay pitcher of 2019 lasted five innings, giving up 11 hits and six earned runs—as well as three homers—to a Mets lineup that sits almost directly in the middle of the National League pack (and above the Phillies) in a lot of offensive categories.
Maybe it was the curveball machine on the field before the game. Maybe it was the good vibes of Brad Miller’s bamboo plant in the locker room. Maybe it was Jimmy Rollins in the booth. Maybe it was Scott Kingery hitting leadoff. But instead of curling up like a dead bug hit with death spray, the Phillies sprung to life, with Jean Segura and Rhys Hoskins clocking moonshots to tie the game in the bottom of the first frame. Roman Quinn plunked a grounder to the pitcher and Roman Quinned his way on base to get another run across. Bryce Harper followed with an RBI double in the next inning to make it 4-2, and when the Phillies lost the lead again, he hit another RBI double in the fourth to take it back. Both teams poked at each other for a while, with Todd Frazier being a particularly tough out on the evening and homering for New York after knocking in a run in the first.
The Mets were up 6-5 when Maikel Franco—yes, the Maikel Franco, starting and playing the entire game at third—came up with a man on base. His home run to straightaway center and into the bushes gave the Phillies a 7-6 lead that they wouldn’t need a Harper RBI double to hold onto. Segura, Cesar Hernandez, and Franco all contributed further batted-in runs to engorge the Phillies’ lead, and Jay Bruce capped the evening off with a sharply swatted bomb to right that solidified a 13-7 win. New guy Fernando Salas came on to close the game out and halt the Phillies march to the bottom of the NL East, for now.
Hold your loved ones, plant invasive bamboo in your yard, get people at work to start calling you “Curveball Machine” because of how disruptive you are at meetings; do whatever you can to hold onto this feeling. The Phillies may have had to tap into some dark magic or superstitions to break their slump, but they broke it last night, and now it’s time to do whatever we can to keep it going.