Set your phasers to stun and phone a friend; not many words in the English language start with a “ph.” The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Chicago White Sox, 3-2, this time, in a normal, nine-inning game.
Starting pitchers Ross Detwiler and Aaron Nola were both illustrious in the first three innings; 18 batters stepped to the plate, none getting on base. An impressive feat in Citizens Bank Park, known for its low walls and small dimensions.
Detwiler and Nola parted ways in the fourth inning, however; Leury García garnered a four-pitch walk, making him the first baserunner of the game. García seemed to claim some real estate in Nola’s head; a few pickoff attempts were made, and on one of the attempts, Gabe Kapler made the bizarre (and early) decision to challenge whether García returned to first base safely. New York deemed García safe.
The fourth inning-fun continued when Jon Jay doubled on a 1-2 count, with two out. García, who survived the aforementioned review, scored, making it 1-0, White Sox.
The bottom of the fourth was ... not fun. The first (phirst?) Phillies baserunner, César Hernández, reached on an error by Tim Anderson. However, a great throw by Seby Zavala to Anderson mowed Hernández down at second; ah, redemption.
And that’s when Bryce Harper, who I made fun of yesterday for going 0-for-6, took Detwiler deep on a fastball up and away.
And when I say deep, I mean second-deck deep.
Do I have to tell you what happened after that Harper at-bat? Well, Rhys Hoskins hit one out; it’s the sixth time the Phillies have gone back-to-back in 2019. At least the Phillies Twitter account was nice enough to include both homers in one video, so I don’t have to embed them separately. Thanks, @Phillies.
The #FireRicky crew got a boost in the arm in the seventh, when Jay led off with a whiff, but Eloy Jiménez singled and Tim Anderson doubled him to third to put ducks on the pond. With the lead run on second base and a sacrifice fly tying the game, here was the play, with an 0-1 count and Yolmer Sánchez at the plate:
I believe that is former White Sox catcher Ben Davis with the line of the night: “I don’t know how you can bunt with one out and two men in scoring position when you’re down 2-1 in the game.”
Perhaps Davis has passed his first audition as new White Sox manager.
Matt Skole struck out with runners on the corners and two outs, because of course it would play out that way after the failed bunt.
As if the top of the seventh wasn’t painful enough, everything could have very well all gone to hell in the bottom half. Maikel Franco doubled, followed by a five-pitch walk to Andrew Knapp by Jace Fry. Hernández almost grounded into a double play, but beat the throw, getting Franco home, to make it 3-1, Phillies.
Dylan Covey, who lazy susaned his way right back to Chicago on the heels of his demotion four days ago, hit Jean Segura with an 0-2 pitch that just fluffed the jersey. With the bases loaded, Covey coaxed Bryce Harper, of all people, into a ground out. Phew.
In the ninth inning, Abreu reached on an error, followed by a Jay single, and is replaced with a pinch-runner in the speedy Ryan Cordell. Sánchez singles, and wow, is this what they refer to as ... a rally? Abreu scored, and the White Sox crawled a little closer to the Phillies, 3-2, but it was all the run production they were able to muster.
The White Sox could have taken better advantage of the fact that the Phillies have, well, no closer right now, as Hector Néris is still suspended for hitting David Freese of the Los Angeles Dodgers with a pitch back on July 16. Also, at 139, the Phillies have the fourth-most runs allowed past the sixth inning. Missed opportunity.
Detwiler did exactly what we needed him to do: He kept his pitch count low, and went 5 2⁄3 innings, striking out six and walking only one batter. His two earned runs came off those two solo shots in that fateful fourth. Detwiler’s record is now 1-2. Nola emerged victorious, improving to 10-2 on the season. Nola went seven innings, giving up one earned run off three hits, walking only two and striking out 10.
Tomorrow’s 12:05 CST rubber match will be televised on NBC Sports Chicago; if radio floats your boat, tune into WGN 720. As for your SSS coverage, look no further than the amiable Leigh Allan.