2019 Postgame Recaps

Ryan McMahon’s 2 home run night leads Rockies to victory over Phillies

Zach Eflin took his second consecutive loss Thursday night. (Kevin French/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies opened a four-game weekend set Thursday. Zach Eflin and Kyle Freeland, the evening’s starting pitchers, made sure to keep scoring at a minimum while much of the Delaware Valley was focused on Game 3 of the Sixers-Brooklyn Nets playoff series.

In the meantime, though, both teams flashed some leather.

Scott Kingery, as you may have heard, is a natural second baseman. But he spent a bulk of the 2018 season as the Phillies starting shortstop, and has now played there on consecutive days with Jean Segura nursing a hamstring injury. In the bottom of the second, the 24-year-old made a play at shortstop that would make Jimmy Rollins proud:

While Manny Machado is back at third base with the San Diego Padres – and has already reminded the baseball world how great of a fielder he is at the hot corner, he’s almost certainly the second best fielding third baseman in his own division. Nolan Arenado, who has won six consecutive Gold Glove Awards, made what amounts to a routine play for him to end the top of the fourth. For anyone else, though, it would have been one of the best defensive plays of their career:

But for as impressive as Kingery’s defense has been to open the 2019 season, he made a crucial throwing error to open the bottom of the sixth inning, which allowed Arenado to reach first base. Rockies shortstop Trevor Story followed the Kingery error with a single. Ryan McMahon then broke the scoreless tie with a three-run home run:

With Kyle Freeland forced to exit the game with just 86 pitches (more on that later), the Phillies wasted no time getting after the Rockies bullpen. After Rhys Hoskins was hit by a pitch with one out in the top of the seventh, J.T. Realmuto scorched a ball into the first row of seats in right field, his second home run in three days:

In the home half of the seventh, Victor Arano inherited a runner on second base in the form of David Dahl, after Jose Alvarez nearly allowed Dahl to hit a one-out home run. Instead, after Dahl advanced to third base on a single by Arenado, Story plated him with a sacrifice fly, giving the Rockies an insurance run.

The idea of the Rockies needing an insurance run became a moot point a batter later, when McMahon launched his second home run of the night, not far from where his first one landed:

The Phillies attempted to mount a rally in the top of the eighth, when a struggling Bryce Harper worked a walk to put two runners on base for Rhys Hoskins. Like Harper, though, Hoskins is in a bit of a cold stretch. That stretch continued when Scott Oberg worked back from a 3-0 count to strike Hoskins out, ending the inning and leaving a hot Realmuto on-deck.

Rockies closer Wade Davis, in a non-save situation, allowed Cesar Hernandez to post his third hit of the night in the bottom of the night, but ultimately induced a Maikel Franco ground out to end the game.

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance

In 1997, Chase Utley’s hometown Los Angeles Dodgers selected him in the second round of the MLB Draft. Utley, rather than sign with the Dodgers, elected to go to UCLA. That, of course, worked to the advantage of the Philadelphia Phillies, who selected Utley in the first round of the 2000 MLB Draft. Utley became one of the greatest players in franchise history, before eventually spending the final three-and-a-half seasons of illustrious career with the Dodgers.

Maybe at some point in his career, Kyle Freeland, who the Phillies selected in the 35th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, will don red pinstripes. But Freeland, who the Rockies ultimately drafted in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft, currently pitches for his hometown Rockies. And for the first six innings of Thursday evening’s game, he was dominant against a Phillies lineup that is one of the deepest in the league. The 25-year-old lefty allowed just two hits across six frames, while striking out seven.

You never root for injuries, but the Phillies seemed to catch a break when Freeland had to exit the game after the sixth inning because of a blister that his troubled him for a couple weeks. But as Rockies manager Bud Black was planning out the rest of his evening, Gabe Kapler watched Zach Eflin allow a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth, with two of those runs earned.

While he was much better Thursday night than he was last Saturday night in Miami, Eflin took his second consecutive loss. As Phillies Nation‘s Jason Ferrie noted, it’s worth monitoring that Eflin has struck out just six batters over his last two starts. The 24-year-old righty struck out 14 batters combined between his first two starts, both of which were wins.

Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game:  Ryan McMahon

McMahon, 24, entered the evening with five career home runs in 225 career at-bats. He had zero in 2019. He now has two home runs in 2019, and helped the Rockies to their fourth consecutive win and first at Coors Field in 2019.

Next Game

  • 8:40 p.m. on Friday April 19 at Coors Field
  • NBC Sports Philadelphia, Facebook Watch (outside of Philadelphia market)
  • SportsRadio 94 WIP


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