Most of the talk centered around the return of Gabe Kapler with the Giants in town. Having stayed on the West coast last season, Kapler didn’t have a chance to return to the place where he embarked on a managerial career. This time, he brought a team with him that doesn’t hit all that well, but has had some good pitching performances this year to Citizens Bank Park. The game was set up for the Phillies to at least put up a fight against the Giants.
They did not.
The Giants sent in Kevin Gausman to begin the game against a Phillies lineup that was missing Didi Gregorius, who was out with some elbow pain. That meant that newly promoted Nick Maton was in the lineup that, frankly, hasn’t hit well this year. Gausman has been pretty good and entered with the best splitter in the game this year so far. He would use that pitch to just confound the Phillies all night long.
It’s not that the team didn’t have their chances. In the first inning, they had two runners on with two out and couldn’t push a run across.
Same in the third inning.
And in the fourth.
The fourth inning was the most frustrating since it involved a leadoff walk and Jean Segura’s 200th career double, but Gausman used his splitter to toy with Maton and Mickey Moniak before getting Brad Miller out to end the threat.
Meanwhile, the Giants only needed a sliver of offense to take the game. The top of the third inning saw Evan Longoria off of Phillies starter Chase Anderson, bringing up Brandon Belt. Belt proceeded to make Anderson pay for a mistake and deposited the pitch into the seats, scoring the only two runs of the night for either team.
RIP to this baseball thrown to Brandon Belt and also the fan who tried to get it pic.twitter.com/OH5blEFVqi— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) April 20, 2021
If you want to take any solace from that home run, that’s YouTube personality (and professional dork) Zack Hemple who almost shatters his pelvis in a weird attempt to gain control of a home run ball.
The lone bright spot from the Phillies would be Bryce Harper, who went three for four with a stolen base. He’s been on fire of late, something nice to see for an offense that isn’t doing a whole lot. The bullpen, forced into five innings of work when Joe Girardi used Miller early in the game to generate some offense, was quite good as a unit, combining to allow only two hits, one walk and striking out seven across those innings.
The struggles of this offense are still a concern. We could go on and on about centerfield, but boy oh boy are there some issues. Still, another chance tomorrow night.