I gotta tell ya, wasn’t expecting this.
The offense needed this night. We’ve all seen the stats about how bad they’ve been lately, especially with runners in scoring position. We don’t feel like getting queasy this early, so we won’t rehash them, but they’re.....they’re not good. So coming into the game tonight, they needed something, anything, to get them going.
Hello, Corey Dickerson.
With the Phillies down 1-0 in the third, they loaded the bases after two walks and a hit. Dickerson stepped in and boom, the most exciting play in baseball: a bases loaded triple.
It was a hugely needed hit, as it seemed to make an entire team exhale. The lineup felt a little more relaxed as the night moved forward. They strung together hits, got some pop in the next inning from Bryce Harper and generally just looked better at hitting.
Now about that pitching.....
Drew Smyly was the starter for the night. When all was said and done, he ended with a rough start, something that shouldn’t surprise us at all. But was it just me, or did the game always feel like a Jenga game with a few too many base pieces missing, constantly weebling all night long? Shutdown innings that were needed, but didn’t happen, missed locations, it was just an uneasy feeling watching it all night long.
Come the 6th inning, it finally fell over.
Holding a 5-3 lead with as tenuous a grasp as you could imagine, Smyly served up a meatball that Stephen Vogt didn’t miss, tying the game at 5. Smyly couldn’t finish the inning, but fear not. Jose Alvarez to the rescue!
You know what happened next, don’t you? Yup, Alvarez gave up the lead and the Phillies has to try and play catch up again. They needed someone to step up and deliver.
Hello, Bryce Harper.
This was a huge, huge home run for Harper. He’s been hearing it a bit from local talk radio as the team slumps, something this will happen often as long as he’s the highest paid player on the team. To see him respond with not one, but two home runs that made the same sound that caused Brad Pitt to look up from his gloom in that scene from “Moneyball”. I’ve said it before, but he has been anything but a bust this year. Mike Morin, Ranger Suárez (!) and Hector Neris then slammed the door shut, preserving this win for the Phils. It was a sorely needed one.
As a parting shot, I’ll leave this. The point at the fan.....amazing.