What if I told you that with the Phillies desperately trying to remain in playoff contention, they used Nick Vincent in a key situation two games in a row? Would you think that the Phillies won those games?
I assure you this isn’t a trick question or a subversion of expectations. Vincent was used in both games, and the Phillies most assuredly lost them both. After serving up a walk off home run on Thursday afternoon, the deservedly unheralded reliever issued a bases loaded walk on Friday night, and the Phillies lost to the Mets 5-4.
Zach Eflin started the game for the Phillies and turned in an acceptable outing. But since the NL stupidly refuses to use the DH, he had to be removed from the game when his spot in the lineup came up in the top of the sixth. (Did the Phillies go on to score a run after pinch hitting for Eflin? Of course not!)
And thus began the Phillies’ nightly parade of relievers. With the bullpen ravaged by injuries, and full of questionable arms, you might think that Gabe Kapler would attempt to minimize the number of relievers he calls upon in each game. Instead, he seems determined to use as many different pitchers as he can.
Now that rosters have expanded, managers won’t be running out of pitchers.— Dan Mallon (@MallonDan) September 7, 2019
Gabe Kapler: “Hold my kale smoothie.”#RingTheBell
One of those pitchers didn’t seem to even want to enter the game. When Kapler called for Hector Neris, the reliever seemed to act like he didn’t notice, and continued to warm up in the bullpen. Once Neris finally entered the game, he gave up two straight singles giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.
That should have been the end of it for the Phillies, but J.T. Realmuto is trying to single-handedly keep the Phillies’ season alive. His clutch two-run home run in the top of the ninth allowed the game to continue for another half inning.
Mike Morin started the ninth by getting two outs, before the next two batters reached base. At that point, Kapler called upon Vincent, because any time you can get Nick Vincent into a close game, you have to do it.
Vincent actually got ahead of the first hitter 0-2....and then hit him. At that point, I suspected that the game would be lost thanks to a wild pitch, but he settled for a more mundane bases loaded walk.
If the loss wasn’t bad enough, the Phillies also had to deal with an injury scare when Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch.
Here’s the video of Harper getting drilled by Matz. Should the Phillies retaliate? pic.twitter.com/4X4FVuO4H5— Phils Nation (@PHLPhilNation) September 7, 2019
Fortunately, X-rays were negative, but it still seems like the Phillies may be without Harper for at least a couple days. The good news is that in terms of the Phillies’ playoff hopes, it probably won’t even matter.