Phillies Nation

2019 Postgame Recaps

Big games from Hernandez, Realmuto lead Phillies to crazy win

Cesar Hernandez is hitting nearly .400 in May. (George Walker/Icon Sportswire)

Monday night’s Philadelphia Phillies-Chicago Cubs matchup was supposed to be about Jake Arrieta’s return to Chicago, and to a lesser extent, his matchup with four-time All-Star righty Yu Darvish. Instead, the first of four games at the friendly confines turned into the Cesar Hernandez show for a little. And then, one of the wilder Phillies games you’ll ever watch ensued.

Arrieta got himself into a bit of a jam in the bottom of the second inning, as the Cubs loaded the bases with just one out. But Arrieta was able to wiggle out of trouble, thanks to help from a heads-up play from Hernandez. Hernandez, who continued to swing a scorching-hot bat Monday, fielded a ground ball from Cubs second baseman Addison Russell with one out. Instead of taking the easy out at first, Hernandez came home with the throw, nabbing Cubs catcher Victor Caratini. The next batter was Darvish, who grounded out to leave the bases loaded.

The next inning wasn’t as successful for Arrieta in terms of keeping the Cubs off the scoreboard.

Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber led off the bottom of the third inning by sending a ball to the warning track in left field. Phillies left fielder Andrew McCutchen, who has primarily played center field when playing at Wrigley Field, jumped when he may not have needed to, only for the ball to hit the wall and kick away from McCutchen, allowing Schwarber to reach third with a triple. Two batters later, Anthony Rizzo scorched a ball that with the infield in, Hernandez didn’t have a chance to make a play on, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead:

In the home half of the fifth inning, Jason Heyward roped a single into right field with runners on first and second. In a one-run game, Cubs third base coach Brian Butterfield elected to hold Rizzo at third base. Rizzo would never reach home plate, as Albert Almora would line out to Bryce Harper in right field in the next at-bat, and Harper came up throwing:

Harper’s outfield assist proved to be a turning point in the game, as the Phillies were able to get to Darvish in the top of the sixth inning.

J.T. Realmuto, who tied Sunday’s game with a pinch-hit home run, was back in the starting lineup Monday. And for the second consecutive day he tied the game, delivering an RBI single with two outs in the top of the sixth:

Hernandez, who is probably one of the five hottest hitters in the sport right now, proceeded to bring both Harper and Realmuto home in the next at-bat with a triple:

While the Phillies appeared to have seized all momentum heading into the eighth, Gabe Kapler elected to use Seranthony Dominguez for a second inning after an electric seventh inning. That proved to be a mistake, though Dominguez had a chance to see his way out of – or at least limit the damage of – a jam in the eighth inning. Instead, one of the worst single plays probably in the history of the Phillies had other ideas.

With runners on second and third base, Daniel Descalso lined a ball into right-center field that probably should have been caught by Odubel Herrera. Instead, a lack of communication between Herrera and Andrew McCutchen allowed the ball to drop, bringing home the tying runs. If that wasn’t bad enough, as Jean Segura attempted to throw out Descalso sliding into third base, the ball kicked off his foot and into the Cubs dugout like something out of a miniature golf course. With it out of play, Descalso got to go home for free, giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead:

That wasn’t the last crazy twist in this game, though.

In the top of the ninth, Maikel Franco laced a one-out double into right-center field off of Brad Brach. McCutchen walked, bringing Segura to the plate with a chance to make up for a costly error in the previous half inning. He did just that, inside-outing a ball over the head of Rizzo, which allowed Franco to score:

Segura was called out trying to stretch a single into a double, though the Phillies challenged the call and appeared likely to win it, with replay showing that Segura’s hand was on the second base bag before the tag was placed on him. But upon further review, the call stood, ending an inning where the Phillies would have had runners on second and third base and a chance to retake the lead.

But after Hector Neris pitched a scoreless ninth inning, Realmuto was able to give the Phillies the lead for good, hitting his second home run in as many days:

Adam Morgan was called upon to start the 10th inning, and did so in grand fashion, striking out Jason Heyward, who hit a walk-off grand slam off of him a season ago. Juan Nicasio then came into the game, and after allowing a single off the bat of Almora, Nicasio induced a game-ending double play.

If there’s been a crazier Phillies win in the last five years, it’s hard to think of it.

Arrieta Returns to Chicago

Jake Arrieta won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award while pitching for the Chicago Cubs, going 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA, 2.35 FIP and 7.0 fWAR. A year later, Arrieta was part of a Cubs team that won the franchise’s first World Series title since 1908. Arrieta “only” played for the Cubs for four-and-a-half years, but the impact that he had during his time with the Cubs is similar to what Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee did during their respective tenures in Philadelphia.

In the top of the third inning, Arrieta came to the plate for the first time in the game, and got a thunderous ovation from the Wrigley Field faithful:

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance

Jake Arrieta may have envisioned himself turning back the clock and pitching like it was 2016 in his return to Wrigley Field. That didn’t happen, but despite allowing eight hits over six frames, he was able to limit the Cubs to just one run.

Arrieta, who had a 5.79 ERA in his last five starts, certainly benefited from key defensive plays from Cesar Hernandez and Bryce Harper. Advanced metrics may feel that Arrieta was rather lucky Monday evening, but he gave the Phillies a chance to win.

Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Cesar Hernandez

Forget the best game of his season, Monday may have been the best game of Cesar Hernandez’s career.

The longest-tenured Phillie made the aforementioned key defensive play in the second inning, in addition to an over-the-shoulder basket catch in the bottom of the seventh inning. Additionally, he went 3-4, increasing his batting average to a crisp .393 in May.

Ticket IQ Next Game

  • Tuesday May 21 at Wrigley Field
  • 7:05 p.m.
  • NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN
  • SportsRadio 94 WIP

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