2019 Postgame Recaps

Home run ball, lack of timely hitting dooms Phillies in series finale



Jedd Gyorko (left) and Matt Carpenter (right) both hit home runs Thursday. (Ian D’Andrea)

Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff turned in perhaps the best start of his career on May 8, as he allowed just three hits in eight shutout innings at Busch Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals. With the Phillies aiming to sweep the Cardinals Thursday afternoon, Eickhoff wasn’t able to rediscover what made him successful in his first start against the Cardinals in 2019, as he was victimized by the home run ball in a loss where the Phillies didn’t get much in the way of timely hitting.

The Cardinals got on the board in the top of the second, using the home run, which would go on to be a theme for the day.

Rightfully so, quite a bit of attention is given to the explosion that Christian Yelich has had since being traded by the Miami Marlins after the 2017 season. But Marcell Ozuna, his former Marlins teammate, is doing alright for himself.

In the top of the second inning, Ozuna lifted a ball to right field that appeared likely to be put away by Bryce Harper in right field. Instead, the ball just continued to carry until it left the stadium, marking Ozuna’s 16th home run of the season:

Matt Wieters was making his third start against the Phillies in 2019, having homered in the two previous starts. After home plate umpire Kerwin Danley – who didn’t have a great day behind the plate – didn’t call what appeared to be strike three, Wieters sent the next pitch over the wall in right field for his third home run of the season, all three of which have come against the Phillies:

After allowing two home runs in the second inning, Eickhoff settled in for a few innings, using just 36 pitches to get through the fourth-sixth innings. That left the door open for the Phillies to come back.

Following an Andrew McCutchen bloop single to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, Harper stayed hot by spraying a ball to left field with one out, which nearly left the stadium. Instead, it allowed Harper to roll into second base with his 18th double of the season. With first base open, Cardinals manager Mike Schildt elected to intentionally walk Rhys Hoskins with the scorching-hot Cesar Hernandez due up.

Hernandez would ground out to shortstop, but beat the relay to first base, scoring on a fielder’s choice. That was all of the damage the Phillies were able to do in the fourth, as Scott Kingery would fly out to end the inning.

Two innings later, though, the Phillies found themselves in virtually the same situation and managed to get even less out of it.

With Jean Segura on third and Harper on second after another double, the Cardinals again chose to walk Hoskins to face Hernandez. This time, Hernandez scorched a ball, but it was right at shortstop Paul DeJong, who caught it and tagged out Harper to end the threat. Sometimes, the breaks just don’t go your way.

And sometimes, things that are supposed to break, just don’t break. After settling in for a few innings, Eickhoff hung a breaking ball that didn’t break to Jedd Gyorko. As major league hitters tend to do, he didn’t miss it:

Eickhoff would be replaced by Edgar Garcia, who after retiring one batter, allowed Matt Carpenter, who was pinch-hitting, to come off the bench and launch another home run:

The Phillies did mount a bit of a comeback attempt in the eighth inning, as both Jean Segura and Harper followed a leadoff walk from McCutchen with singles. Harper’s single plated McCutchen, his seventh RBI of the series, and allowed Segura to move to third base.

Hoskins would cut the Cardinals lead to two, as he plated McCutchen on a single that concluded a seven-pitch at-bat. But Cardinals pitcher John Gant – no relation to Ron, as far as we can tell – rallied after allowing a single to Hoskins to strike out Hernandez and Kingery, neither of whom had a strong day in terms of situational hitting. Gant then induced a pop fly off the bat of J.T. Realmuto, who pinch-hit for Andrew Knapp, to end the Phillies threat, once again leaving runners on the corners.

In the ninth, Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks retired the Phillies in order as the Cardinals were able to avoid being swept by the Phillies.

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance

Though Eickhoff gave the Phillies a chance to win Thursday, a team normally won’t win when their starter allows eight hits and four runs in 6.1 innings.

Since starting 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his first five appearances (four of which were starts) in 2019, Eickhoff has an 8.35 ERA in four starts. In those four starts, he’s allowed 10 home runs. Given that the No. 5 spot in the Phillies rotation has turned into a revolving door, that’s obviously sub-optimal.

Hudson, meanwhile, allowed just four hits over six innings. After allowing eight runs (only two of which were earned) in five innings against the Phillies on May 7, this was a nice rebound performance for Hudson, who benefited from the Phillies lack of timely hitting.

Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Matt Weiters

With Yadier Molina dealing with a right hand injury, Weiters got a chance to start for the second straight day. And for the second straight day, he hit a home run in a multi-hit performance.

It’s almost like someone suggested the Phillies should give Wieters a look, if he was willing to be a backup catcher, last offseason.

Next Game

  • Friday May 31 at Dodger Stadium
  • 10:10 p.m. ET
  • NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • SportsRadio 94 WIP

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