It is Mother’s Day. At the time today’s game began the series against Colorado had already been decided. The attention of Philadelphia was turned to the Sixers and what would prove to be a doomed effort in game 7. Baseball persists, even if most people are doing something else with their Sundays.
Bryson Stott started the proceedings with a base hit to right and threw in a stolen base for good measure, but the next three Phillies all went down on strikes at the hands of Kyle Freeland. Quick, efficient, and utterly unlike the half-inning that would follow.
The Rockies came to bat against Aaron Nola and put pressure on him fast, with a Charlie Blackmon base hit to right and a walk for Jurickson Profar. Kris Bryant blooped one right in between a trio of Phillies in shallow center, and the bases were loaded without an out. C.J. Cron hit a weak grounder to Stott for what ought to have been a double play and a run scored, the sort of play that you shrug and admit is better than the alternative of a hit. Unfortunately, there was still another alternative: Trea Turner, taking the ball on the toss from Stott, threw off target, an error that turned a 1-0 game into a 2-0 one. Elias Díaz slipped one through the left side of the infield for another hit. Stott bobbled a grounder from Ryan McMahon slightly; he got Díaz out, but the sense of unease was palpable. The inning ended in the only way it could: strangely, with McMahon being caught stealing second not at the bag, but instead falling and being tagged halfway there.
The weirdness continued in the top of the second, with J.T. Realmuto hitting a hard grounder just close enough to the line for the third base umpire to call it fair. It wasn’t fair, but it was called that way, and that’s how it goes down in the scorebook. Marsh walked to put another man on base, but Sosa hit into an inning-ending fielder’s choice, and the Phillies couldn’t capitalize on the umpire’s gift.
The Rockies’ second go through started with two easy outs. A grounder from Brenton Doyle, batting ninth, got bobbled by Sosa, allowing him to reach safely. The discomfort from last inning seemed to echo. Doyle stole second too, but a pop-up to center ended it.
The Phillies got a clean start with the top of their lineup coming to bad in the 3rd, and both Stott and Turner made it to base. A Bryce Harper flyout advanced Stott to third, but Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber both made unproductive outs and nothing came from it. The Rockies did little with their half of the inning, though they did provide Sosa with an opportunity to redeem himself; he had an excellent scoop and throw to catch Kris Bryant at first.
The 4th inning started with Mike Moustakas replacing C.J. Cron at first due to the latter straining his back on a swing, and then consisted only of both teams going down in order. The game appeared to be taking a swerve towards normalcy. In the bottom of the 5th, Doyle, looking little like the 9th man in the lineup, slammed a homer left to make it 3-0. Blackmon doubled to the same part of the field as well, and Bryant sent him home with a single to center for a 4-0 game.
The top of the 6th began with a Harper strikeout. Then the weirdness came back, resurgent. McMahon mishandled a grounder for Castellanos, putting the ball past the first baseman and Castellanos on second. Schwarber went down on a called third strike that was probably high, and made sure to give the home plate umpire some feedback; Rob Thompson came out to join him and was tossed for his trouble. Realmuto struck out to strand yet another baserunner. The Phillies wouldn’t have to wait long for their next chance, as Nola sent the next three Rockies he saw back to their dugout.
The 7th started with Jake Bird relieving Freeland; he promptly walked Alec Bohm and Brandon Marsh to put two on with no outs. Sosa grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Then, the weirdness once more. The Phillies attempted to challenge the play on the grounds that second baseman Harold Castro hadn’t stepped on the bag to make the out; the umpires didn’t see the request in time and wouldn’t allow it. At the next at bat, Stott lost track of the count and began to take his equipment off after ball 3.
The inning was over after Stott flew out, but Harper charged the field, as did most everyone else in his wake. The casus belli was Bird clapping and delivering a few choice words in the direction of the Philadelphia dugout. The result was the ill-mannered but generally harmless crowding and shoving that typifies such affairs. That would be the last action for Harper, as he got ejected alongside the avian hurler who started the whole thing.
The bottom of the 7th went uneventfully, wrapping up Nola’s solid but unsupported day. Justin Lawrence came into replace the ejected Bird for the top of the 8th and immediately gave up a leadoff hit to Turner, but the next three Phils made outs, and the Phillies took the field without a run yet again. Andrew Vasquez took over for Nola to start and didn’t miss a beat, sending his slate of three Rockies down in order.
Lawrence came back out for the 9th, with Realmuto coming to the plate to begin the Phillies’ last stand. He singled to right, bringing Bohm to the plate. Bohm promptly slapped one up the middle for a single of his own. Perhaps one more bit of weirdness was coming, this time in favor of the Fightins. One would be forgiven for thinking it. But Marsh hit a shallow fly that didn’t advance the runners, and Sosa struck out swinging. Stott went down on a called third strike to end a strange, scoreless day for the Phillies.
There is much more to be said, but almost all of it relates to mothers and basketball. The Phillies head to San Francisco next.