As far as the Philadelphia Phillies prospects to reach the postseason in 2019 and do damage when they get there go, Saturday afternoon was an encouraging day. Not only did the Phillies clinch a series victory over the Colorado Rockies Saturday, but arguably their two most important players led them to said victory.
After Aaron Nola struck out the side in the top half of the first inning, Bryce Harper hit what almost certainly will go down as one of the most memorable home runs during what’s going to be a long stint in Philadelphia:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) May 18, 2019
Statcast has tracked MLB games since the start of the 2015 season, and they say Harper’s home run, which traveled 466 feet, was the longest home run by a Phillie at Citizens Bank Park in that timespan. Frankly, 466 feet doesn’t feel long enough considering Harper’s ball went onto the *new* Ashburn Alley.
Two innings later, the Phillies added a second run. After being advanced to third base on a single by Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura scored on a wild pitch by Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela.
From there, Aaron Nola handled things. Despite some questionable calls behind the plate, Nola struck out 12 Rockies through the first six innings of the game, not allowing a run across the first six frames.
Nola was allowed to start the seventh inning, which proved to be a mistake. After Rockies catcher Tony Wolters led off the inning with a triple that was inches away from leaving the park, pinch-hitter Ryan McMahon doubled off the wall to cut the Phillies lead in half. That proved to be it for Nola, who was replaced by Adam Morgan.
Morgan, in theory, did his job, as he induced a ground ball back to the mound off of the bat of Charlie Blackmon. While this turned out to be the first out, Morgan would have had a play on McMahon had he fired to Maikel Franco at third base. Instead, Morgan took the sure out at first base, allowing the tying run to advance to third base.
Blackmon proved to be the only batter that Morgan faced, as Kapler then turned to Seranthony Dominguez to hold a one-run lead. Dominguez immediately was able to eliminate the biggest threat, with Trevor Story grounding out to third base and Franco throwing out McMahon, who was running on contact, at home plate. Dominguez worked himself into a new jam, as he then proceeded to allow a single to David Dahl and a walk to Nolan Arenado, loading the bases up. Ultimately, though, the 24-year-old righty was able to get Daniel Murphy to ground out to Jean Seugra, ending the inning and preserving the Phillies lead.
Hector Neris would finish off the game with a Mariano Rivera style save, pitching the final two innings and allowing the Phillies to move to 26-19.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Bryce Harper
Even beyond his first inning home run, Harper had a tremendous game Saturday. While Harper did strike out a league-leading 61st time in the third inning, he drew his National League leading 34th walk in the bottom of the fifth. With lefty reliever Jake McGee called on specifically to pitch to him in the seventh inning, Harper smashed a double with two strikes on him in the bottom of the seventh, one of the better at-bats he’s had in 2019.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Gabe Kapler walked up to Aaron Nola after he finished the sixth inning by striking out Brendan Rodgers and said “one more,” letting Nola know that he was going to leave him in for another inning. While Nola had tied a career-high with 12 strikeouts, he was at 99 pitches. The seventh inning didn’t prove to be a fruitful one for Nola, who didn’t record an out before being replaced by Adam Morgan, but it was simply a blip on the radar in the 25-year-old’s finest start of the 2019 campaign.
Nola scattered eight hits in six plus innings, allowing just the one run and striking out 12, which tied a career high.
- Sunday May 19 vs. Rockies at Citizens Bank Park
- 1:05 p.m. ET
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
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