Days like today—sunny and 71 degrees—always seem to have me itching to be down at the Bank to watch a 7:05 first pitch Phils’ game, especially since I have not had the pleasure of walking through the CBP gates since Chase Utley retirement night in June 2019.
However, the Phillies’ stagnant offense is something I’m not itching to see, whether it be at home from the comfort of my living room or down at the ballpark.
Nonetheless, I was still riding the high of last night’s comeback win over the New York Mets until I saw the lineup for today’s game, which perplexed me a bit. I understand sitting Cutch, but Hoskins too? Even with an off day coming up on Thursday?
Hm, whatever. Twitter assured me that lefties hit .291 against Mets’ starter Marcus Stroman in 2019, hence lefty batters such as Matt Joyce, Brad Miller, and Roman Quinn appearing in the starting lineup. But the jumbling of the lineup and providing the off day for certain players did not seem to supply the pop in the Phillies lineup that we’ve been waiting for.
Stroman, who missed the beginning of the 2020 season with a torn left calf muscle, and eventually decided to opt out of the season entirely, seemed to efficiently shake off the rust in his first start since 2019 tonight. He held the Phils offense to just one run, three hits, and a whopping THIRTEEN groundouts over six innings.
I swear I never want to see a ground ball out ever again.
The one run Stroman allowed was a 422-foot Didi Gregorius homerun, though, so that makes me smile. I need more Phils homeruns in my life. Please. I’m desperate.
For the Phillies, they sent out their fifth starter Chase Anderson, making his Phillies debut. Anderson’s debut was fairly anticlimactic, but it was solid, aside from a Dominic Smith opposite-field 2-run homer in the fourth. Through five innings, Anderson allowed two runs and two hits, and threw 80 pitches, only 49 of which were for strikes.
He was “relieved” by Vince Velasquez who entered the game out of the bullpen. After striking out the heart of the Mets order in the sixth, all hell broke loose the following inning, in typical VV fashion. He walked four and allowed four earned runs in the seventh.
I am officially declaring the Vince Velasquez experiment OVER. I think I speak for the entire Phillies fanbase when I say that I cannot take this anymore.
In a world of uncertainly, Vince Velasquez is the one thing you can always count on not being able to count on— Franzke & LA (@FranzkeLA) April 7, 2021
Brandon Kintzler entered to finish out the seventh, but allowed three of VV’s runners to score on a Francisco Lindor sac fly, a Kevin Pillar steal of home (due to an overthrow to second base by J.T. Realmuto), and a Michael Conforto double. The Mets leading 6-1.
The Phils finally spiced things up a bit in their half of the inning on a pinch-hit double by Rhys Hoskins off of Miguel Castro to score Adam Haseley. Unfortunately, that was all the offense was able to muster up.
Reliever David Hale (yeah, I forgot about him, too) also finally made an appearance. He pitched a clean eighth, but surrendered a Pete Alonso 2-run HR in the ninth, to extend the Mets lead to 8-2.
Having flashbacks to the 2020 bullpen is something I was enjoying living without, thanks.
Hoskins (how can you not love him?) once again doubled to score Haseley, and Realmuto was able to get Hoskins home after reaching on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the ninth off of Jeurys Familia. But it wasn’t enough. The Phils lost 8-4, giving the Mets their first win of 2021.
Rhys Hoskins is hitting .368 to start his 2021 season.— Alex Carr (@AlexCarrMLB) April 7, 2021
So that rocks.
Despite this being the Phils’ first loss of the season, I consider having to see Brandon Nimmo run to first on three walks the true L tonight.
So, anyways, see y’all at 4:05 (on a Wednesday?) tomorrow for the finale, where the Phils look for the series win.