I’m sure the Phillies have had an easy win at some point this season. There must have been a game in which the Phillies got out to a comfortable lead and coasted to victory without causing the fans any real angst, but its tough to remember the last time it happened. It certainly didn’t happen on Monday night. They beat the Brewers by a score of 4-3, but it was about as agonizing as a win can be.
We should have known we were in for a rough night as soon as Vince Velasquez was announced as the starter. When Vinny needed 27 pitches to get through the first inning, it was a horrible, yet familiar feeling, like sitting on the sofa you were sitting on when your parents told you they were getting a divorce. Sure, he limited the damage to a lone run, but it felt like he’d be out of the game by the fourth inning.
And then something strange happened: Vinny got good. He worked around a few baserunners in the next two innings, and then retired the last nine Brewers batters he faced.
Vince Velasquez is the first #Phillies starter other than Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Elfin to record an out in the sixth inning this season.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) May 4, 2021
Velasquez even helped out with the bat. After Roman Quinn hit his second triple in as many nights to score Odubel Herrera, Velasquez scored him with an RBI groundout. Not exactly a trio of fan favorites there, but that was counter-balanced by a two run homer from J.T. Realmuto in the first.
After Velasquez departed, Sam Coonrod entered the game and showed once again that he’s really good with nobody on base.
Coonrod is only ever allowed to enter games with the bases empty from now on. I don’t make the rules that’s just how it is.— Paul (@paul_boye) May 4, 2021
He struck out the side, and considering the lack of available relievers, I thought it might have been prudent to send him out for a second inning. Instead, Connor Brogdon got the nod.
Brogdon had some control issues and walked the first two batters of the inning. I’d be angrier at him if the umpires hadn’t forced play to continue through a downpour and it seemed obvious he couldn’t get a good grip on the ball.
How is Brogdon even pitching under this rain! Madness— Sintia Baez (@SintiaBaez) May 4, 2021
Hector Neris was forced to enter the game in the eighth, and although those two runners scored, they escaped with the lead when Neris picked a runner off first base.
Neris returned for the ninth, and Daniel Vogelbach greeted him with a double. Neris rebounded to strike out the next two batters, but then developed an agonizing inability to put batters away. It felt like he threw about 50 pitches with two strikes, and couldn’t record an out on any of them. At one point, a blown save felt inevitable. The only thing in doubt was whether it would come via hit, walk, or error.
Finally, to the surprise of many, Lorenzo Cain couldn’t hold up his swing, and the game mercifully ended.
After Loading the Bases up 1 in the Top of the 9th Hector Neris, using his 40th pitch of the night, gets Lorenzo Cain to swing through the pitch and Pull off the Save for the Phillies and get the win over the Brewers pic.twitter.com/0S7nyh6kpu— MLB Walk Offs & Game Winning Plays (@MLBWalk_Offs) May 4, 2021
In hindsight, we can call that a gutsy, clutch performance by Neris and the Phillies. Despite being shorthanded, and having one of their lesser starters on the mound, they were able to defeat a first place team. Good game, now let us never speak of it again.