A night after cranking out 19 hits and pounding the Mets for 13 runs to snap a seven-game losing streak, it appeared early on the Phillies were quickly reverting back to the frustratingly familiar form that has plagued this team for much of the past three weeks.
Then the sixth inning happened, and what an inning it was.
They dropped five runs on the Mets, highlighted by back-to-back shots off the bats of Maikel Franco and Brad Miller, to erase a 5-2 deficit. This was no doubt the turning point in the game, and, quite possibly, it could prove to be a season-defining moment. Gabe Kapler seems to think so. After the game, he called Franco’s two-run blast a “huge hit in our season.” My guess is we can probably expect to see Franco in the lineup again tonight. Just a hunch.
Miller, meanwhile, was fired up–from what he could remember.
“Maik just hit a huge, huge homer that was an incredible inning for us, so you know, I was just fired up. And then I blacked out. It felt good,” he said.
Oh, and this happened, too:
Gabe Kapler had never been ejected as a manager until this week.
He has now been ejected twice. pic.twitter.com/zDS7AEZxOy
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 26, 2019
- It started with what might have been an intentional 94 mph up and in fastball from Wilmer Font that plunked Scott Kingery. Wilson Ramos was set up inside, but two emotional homers, some celebrations, and the Mets/Phillies recent history would lead me to believe there may have been a little more something to it.
- A rightfully pissed off Gabe Kapler was tossed for the second time in four games after going 237 consecutive games to start his managerial career without getting run.
- Joe West was doing Joe West things here with the quick hook. We see you, Joe. We get it. We all know you were there tonight. Good job.
- And finally, not that we needed further confirmation of this self-evident truth, but the Mets continue to be a joke. Have a week, Mickey Callaway!
After the game, Kapler explained that he was upset over the combination of Kingery getting plunked, along with feeling that a warning to the Phillies dugout created a competitive disadvantage for his relievers late in the game.
“I felt fairly emotional seeing the ball go near Scott’s face, right? And then when we were warned, I recognized that we were put in a tough spot with our relievers coming into the game to win the game, he said. “I felt like it put us at a disadvantage going up and in.”
Maybe it’s the curveball machine (it’s not), or maybe it’s the bamboo (it might be), but whatever it is, the Phillies will take it after their first back-to-back wins in 17 days. For his part, Miller is happy to make another run over to Chinatown tomorrow to help grow the clubhouse collection.
“Yeah, I mean. I’ll do whatever it takes. They’re going to think I’m crazy going back to that place tomorrow. Third day in a row,” he said. “I told them I would see them tomorrow, so I mean, they’re just going to keep hiking the prices up on me or something, but it’s worth it.”
Kapler was also asked if he’s starting to believe in the power of the bamboo.
— Dave Uram (@MrUram) June 26, 2019
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see one in everybody’s locker tomorrow,” Kapler said.
Rightfully so. The Phillies are now 11-5 under Kapler dating back to last season when scoring at least 10 runs in their previous game, and they continued their success against rookie starters, improving to 9-6 when facing one this season (h/t to the Phils’ stats and info crew).
After a dormant first three-plus weeks to the month, the Phils’ lineup has been clicking over the last two nights, putting up 20 runs, 27 hits, and 8 homers. It also appears the Phillies are finally starting to catch some breaks which we saw when Jeff McNeil came within inches of tying the game with a potential two-run homer off Juan Nicasio in the eighth inning. Instead, replay review showed the ball fell just short of clearing the right field fence and was ruled a double. Hector Neris came on to escape the eighth inning jam before walking a tightrope in the ninth to earn his 16th save.
The Phillies’ offensive fireworks against a New York bullpen that entered the night with a 7.32 ERA helped erase what was a somewhat underwhelming Jake Arrieta start. Arrieta did manage to last six innings, but he allowed five earned runs on nine hits, including two homers. He had made back-to-back quality starts prior to tonight, but to say he wasn’t particularly sharp against the Mets is probably fair.
Arrieta, who now has a 5.64 ERA in June, ran into some tough luck in the first inning as a few ground balls found holes, but he also struggled with his command and gave up some hard contact, including a pair of homers to Amed Rosario (was a cheapy) and Dominic Smith (was legit).
This is pretty much the deal with Arrieta. He’s not going to miss many bats–at all. He entered the night striking out only 7.17 batters per nine innings–and had only two punch outs tonight. When Arrieta has command of his secondary pitches and gets consistent late run on the fastball, he has a chance to produce a good outing like the one we saw last week in Washington. When he doesn’t, you get what we saw tonight.
- It’s hard to say enough good things about Scott Kingery right now. Let’s be honest, his rookie season was brutal, but the guy deserves a lot of credit for bouncing back in year two. It would have been easy for many young players to let the doubts creep in after 484 mostly unproductive plate appearances in which he hit .226 with a .267 OBP last season, but not Kingery. His leadoff blast in the first inning tonight was his 10th homer of the season, and he’s now hitting .331 with a 1.006 OPS this season. Incredible.
- Phillies’ pitchers have now yielded a staggering 135 homers this season. That is substantially more than the next the closest NL team, the Rockies, which entered the night having coughed up 113 homers.
- Tommy Hunter worked two scoreless innings for Reading tonight in his fourth appearance since beginning a rehab assignment earlier this month. He surrendered two hits and struck out two, needing only 18 pitches to complete the outing. Hunter could be close to rejoining an injury-ravaged Phillies bullpen that entered the night with the NL’s sixth-worst ERA, although it did toss three scoreless innings tonight.
- Rhys Hoskins launched his 18th homer of the season in the fourth inning . Since June 10th, Hoskins is hitting .304 with five homers and three doubles, while also drawing 12 walks.