Double the header, double the pain!
Coming off of a two-game series in which they lost when scoring 2 runs and 12 runs, the Phillies were in desperate need of a win.
It’s been nearly a week since they last won a game (a 13-6 takedown of the San Francisco Giants), and quite honestly, it feels even longer.
Dropping both games to the Washington Nationals at home hurts even more because now the path to a W is much more insurmountable: a 4-game series in New York against the first-place Mets, beginning with this lovely doubleheader.
Although the Phillies DFA’ing David Hale provided me with some hope, I really felt zero confidence heading into this series and was coming to terms with the fact that the 34-37 Phils could very well be 34-41 by the end of the weekend.
Game 1 was a pitcher’s duel between Aaron Nola and Taijuan Walker.
Nola needed to be good today, especially with Matt Moore starting Game 2 and facing Jacob deGrom tomorrow in Game 3.
And while Nola was stellar, the offense was not. After allowing two runners to reach on just four pitches in the first, Nola cruised from there, striking out 10 consecutive batters, tying Tom Seaver for the major league record.
Put @AaronNola027 in the history books.
He struck out TEN STRAIGHT Mets, tying Tom Seaver’s Major League record. pic.twitter.com/HoRtkAwzHS
— MLB (@MLB) June 25, 2021
Nola even picked up two of the Phillies’ three hits: a single in the third that was just shy of being the first homer of his career, and this RBI-double in the fifth to score Nick Maton all the way from first (also the Phils’ only run of the game.)
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) June 25, 2021
Nola finished with 12 Ks and allowed only two hits and one walk through 5.1 IP. He was replaced by Jose Alvarado, the new “closer” for the time being. He entered the game with two runners on and just one out. After walking Dominic Smith to load the bases, he was able to get out of the jam with a strikeout of James McCann and a Kevin Pillar groundout.
Alvarado trotted back out in the 7th looking to earn the five-out save. But we’re talking about the Phillies here, remember?
Alvarado was able to get Luis Guillorme, the first batter of the inning, to ground out sharply back to the mound. Alvarado gobbled up the ball and threw over to Rhys Hoskins for the out at first, but the ball went over Rhys’ glove and Guillorme made his way over to second. I’m not really sure who to blame more, Alvarado, whose throw was lazy, or Rhys, who seemingly lost the ball in the sun while having sunglasses on top of his hat.
Who would you give this error to?
Comebacker to Alvarado who throws to Hoskins who loses the high throw in the sun and ball gets away and runner advances to second base. pic.twitter.com/XQ4dol0lzo
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) June 25, 2021
Either way, this blunder ultimately led to a Francisco Lindor RBI-single that tied the game, and Ranger Suárez ended up having to come in to get the final out of the inning. Naturally, the Phils were unable to capitalize in extras, but the Mets were. After intentionally walking Pete Alonso to get to Dom Smith, Smith subsequently hit an RBI-single off of Suárez to score the game-winning run.
So, in a game where Aaron Nola tied a major league record with a Hall-of-Famer, the Phillies STILL found a way to lose. You really can’t make this up. You just can’t.
I think Jim Salisbury summed it up best with this tweet:
Another vomit-inducing loss for Phillies.
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) June 25, 2021
But wait! There’s MOORE! (Haha, get it?) (No, I’m not crying)
Game 2 was a bad pitcher’s duel as Matt Moore (he’s baaaaack) faced off against David Peterson.
Or was it just a bad offense duel?
The first five innings were largely a snoozefest, with the exception of this outstanding Andrew McCutchen catch that robbed a 2-run HR from Albert Almora Jr. in the 2nd, much to the delight of Moore.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) June 26, 2021
The Phils’ offense finally showed signs of life in the sixth when Bryce Harper hit his 11th solo home run of the season. In response to the incessant “overrated” chants, Harper blew kisses to the New York crowd following the HR. Petty!
Bryce Harper goes yard for his 11th homer of the year to give the Phils a 1-0 lead! pic.twitter.com/vCpLRLYmMQ
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 26, 2021
Moore, surprisingly, pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits, one walk, and striking out two. Peterson’s line was similar, going six innings, and allowing three hits, two walks, five strikeouts, and just the one run thanks to Harper.
After Connor Brogdon pitched a clean sixth, it was then up to Archie Bradley to close out the game. Bradley promptly gave up a single to Billy McKinney, and Guillorme reached on a fielding error by Bohm, already his second of the series, and his 11th on the season.
Bradley then walked Michael Conforto to load the bases with no outs. Next up was James McCann, who hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. It was yet another (!) blown save, the second one of the day, and third one this week. At this point, I was just hoping the Mets would walk it off right then and there, but unfortunately, they didn’t.
To extras we go again, with the Phillies taking the lead this time on an Odúbel Herrera groundout that allowed pinch-runner Travis Jankowski to score.
The Phils were now looking for the chance to blow the save for the fourth time today, up 2-1 in the 8th. This time it was up to closer-turned-non-closer-to-closer-again Héctor Neris.
Thankfully, FINALLY, the Phillies were able to close out a game and pick up the win as Neris recorded his 11th save.
But now a question looms: With Alvarado and Bradley both blowing saves on the same day Neris was demoted as closer, did Neris just earn his role back with this save?
I don’t know, I’m tired, and my sanity is hanging by a thread, so we shall see. The Phillies face deGrom tomorrow, though, so watch the game at your own risk. Don’t let the Phillies ruin your weekend!