When a team tells you what they are, believe them. And the Phillies have told us again and again that they are a .500 team. Sure, they might have stretches when they string a bunch of wins together, but they’ll always find their way back to the .500 mark. On Tuesday night, they returned to that familiar break-even mark by dropping a 6-3 decision to the Chicago Cubs.
This one actually started off well. Odubel Herrera led off the game with a home run, and starting pitcher Kyle Gibson retired the first 12 batters he faced.
Kyle Gibson, Filthy 91mph Cutter.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 15, 2021
[Yeah, I know, I know..."And then what happened, stupid Ninja Jinx man." Well, I can't be a jinx if it already happened, so there. ] pic.twitter.com/l0TZQNRIrX
And then things fell apart spectacularly. Three batters into the fifth, the Cubs had hit two home runs, and had established a 3-1 lead. They added another run in the inning, and the Phillies would spend the rest of the game trying (but failing) to catch up.
There was a brief sign of life in the sixth. J.D. Hammer worked out of a jam in the top of the inning, and in the bottom, Jean Segura led off with a double. Bryce Harper - who seems to be about the only one who isn’t determined to waste another one of his prime seasons - drove him home with a double of his own.
A walk and Didi Gregorius single (and a beautiful slide by Harper) later, and the Phillies had closed within one run. But the threat was ended when Freddy Galvis hit into an inning-ending double play.
Don’t think Freddy Galvis gets enough attention for being bad since coming over— Smarty Jones Esq. (@TheSmartyJones) September 15, 2021
Hitting into double plays was one of the few things the Phillies actually did well on Tuesday. They did it four times, and in two other innings, they hit balls that likely would have been double plays had there not already been two outs.
Once that threat was extinguished, Sam Coonrod - with an assist from the Phillies’ usual bad defense - allowed the Cubs to score two more in the top of the seventh. Those runs probably didn’t even matter because the Cubs’ bullpen ended the game by retiring the final nine Phillies batters in order.
Unless they somehow manage a tie on Wednesday (and don’t put it past them), they’ll move a game away from .500. But it probably doesn’t matter if they win or lose. Either way, it feels inevitable that they’ll eventually even out and find their way back to good old .500.