After last night’s debacle, Phillies fans were not going to be shocked by anything. Nothing would seem out of the ordinary a game after a dropped infield popup, a game tying home run by the team’s superstar and an ill advised diving attempt that led to a two-run leadoff inside the park home run all happened in the same game.
Tonight, the Phillies had Zach Eflin on the hill. Eflin, who wasn’t particularly bad in his last start, got a chance to go against an Orioles team is clearly playing way over its head right now. He made the most of it. too, but it just wasn’t enough to leave the game with a lead.
It started off with the Phillies taking the lead in the second on an RBI double from Andrew Knapp that looked eerily similar to what happened last night to the Phillies.
They say that the hardest ball to catch is a line drive right at you. Playing a lot of baseball on the semi-pro circuit, I can attest to that, but it’s still shocking to see a ball misplayed as badly as that one was.
No matter, the Phillies had a lead and Eflin was bound and determined to protect it. Sadly, he couldn’t do it for long, as Anthony Santander hit what can only be called a “paint scraper” since it looked to have shaved the foul pole.
Anthony Santander - Baltimore Orioles (4) pic.twitter.com/fsHqwRfyen— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) August 13, 2020
That tied the score at one, bringing the Phillies up in the bottom of the inning to avenge the score. Rhys Hoskins walked on some questionable pitch calls by the home plate umpire, then with the shift on, Bryce Harper laid down a textbook bunt for a single that put men on first and second with no one out. J.T. Realmuto, DHing tonight, followed Harper with a broken bat single that scored Hoskins and sent Harper to third. Didi Gregorius hit a sacrifice fly as the next batter, making the score 3-1.
In the top of the fourth, hoping to score a lockdown inning, Eflin failed to produce, allowing back-to-back doubles to leadoff the inning. After getting Austin Hays and Chris Davis to strike out, a common theme for Eflin on the evening, Chance Sisco singled, bringing home both runners on base and tying the game at 3.
In the fifth, with Eflin still pitching, Rio Ruiz drilled a two out home run, giving the Orioles their first lead of the game at 4-3.
Can’t spell Orioles without RIO. pic.twitter.com/qNTud94ffG— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 13, 2020
That home run would be the last run Eflin would allow as he got out of that and the sixth inning, capping his night with six innings pitched, seven hits, four runs, one walk and ten strikeouts, a new career high for him. His velocity was up the entire game, maintaining in the mid-90’s all game. His sinker was moving all over the place, his changeup was effective. Were it not for a few poorly placed pitches that the Orioles took advantage of, this headline would have been the Zach Eflin Game. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
The Orioles got another run back when the bullpen bullpenned all over itself again. This time, it was Adam Morgan pouring gasoline on the fire, allowing a leadoff home run to Sisco, making it 5-3. In the eighth, the Phillies put a little more pressure on the Orioles. Against Miguel Castro, Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius both singled to lead off the inning, but Jay Bruce struck out for the first out. Andrew Knapp stepped to the plate and delivered his third hit of the game, this one a single that scored Segura and made it 5-4.
Roman Quinn struck out as the next batter, but it took a great play by Ruiz to stop an Andrew McCutchen shot to keep the score at 5-4.
Ramon Rosso, despite putting a man on and balking him to second, locked down the ninth, bringing the heart of the Phillies’ order up to the plate to try and at least tie the game.
It was not meant to be. Hoskins struck out, Harper grounded out and Realmuto went down looking.
It’s just very difficult to be a Phillies fan right now.