Wednesday afternoon’s game at Comerica Park in Detroit got underway with the look and feel of an afternoon getaway day game following a 15-inning pitcher’s duel that itself had followed a 45-minute rain delay.
Thankfully, the Philadelphia Phillies (54-48), featuring manager Gabe Kapler‘s most unique starting lineup of the season, defeated the lowly Detroit Tigers (30-67) by a final of 4-0 to sweep a short two-game series.
The 3-4 batting order duo of Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto needed to carry today’s relatively thin starting lineup to secure a victory. They did just that, as Hoskins delivered his team-high fourth triple on the season in the top of the 1st inning. Realmuto was unable to get him home, but made up for that in the 4th when he annihilated a fastball that was just off the inside part of the plate for his 12th home run on the year:
Phillies first baseman J.T Realmuto (not a typo) gives the Phillies the lead with an wRC+ boaster of a home run.
— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) July 24, 2019
Just when it appeared as though struggling Tigers veteran starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman was going to pitch well enough to keep his team in the game, the Phillies lineup got things going, adding three more in the 4th inning.
The first run was provided by the previously cold bat of Nick Williams. The left fielder absolutely destroyed a slider inside for his first home run since being called back up to the big club. It was a much needed confidence boost for Williams, who came into this game sporting an .083 average over his last five contests. Two more runs were added later in the inning on a Cesar Hernandez double and a Hoskins single.
Nick Williams should be feeling really good about himself after absolutely crushing this ball.
— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) July 24, 2019
Once again, the Phillies bullpen was spectacular. Ranger Suarez, Adam Morgan and Hector Neris combined for five strikeouts over 3.1 innings to continue the shutout performance delivered by starting pitcher Vince Velasquez. The bullpen was the saving grace for the Phillies in last night’s marathon victory, and they once again played a big part in the team securing a 4-1 record on this short road trip.
The Phillies get to enjoy yet another off-day on Thursday. The club opens a nine-game homestand on Friday against the division leading Atlanta Braves. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to take the mound against Mike Soroka, with the Phillies looking to tie their season-high winning streak of four in a row. The team will also be trying to win six of seven games for the first time all year.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Vince Velasquez: 5.2 IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 9K
Velasquez regrouped today against the Tigers after a disastrous last outing where he surrendered four home runs against the Dodgers. He had better command of his fastball and was able to get himself out of a jam in the second after loading the bases with two outs.
Had he been facing a better lineup, Velasquez may have surrendered a long ball or two, as a few of his pitches caught way too much of the plate. But he did what he had to do today, striking out nine over 5.2 innings. As usual, the strikeouts and his general lack of control at times contributed to a high pitch count and an inability to get out of the 6th inning. Still, the righty was able to get the job done on this day against this opponent.
Jordan Zimmermann: 4.1 IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 3K
The veteran right-hander has been awful this season for the Tigers. He was pretty much awful again today. Zimmermann is now a shell of the pitcher who helped lead the Nationals rotation in the early part of the decade.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Nick Williams
It may have been his only hit of the game, but his monster of a solo shot was fun to watch. Williams’ round-tripper kicks-tarted an inning in which the Phillies scored three runs while sending nine men to the plate.
Hoskins, Hernandez and Roman Quinn all enjoyed two-hit games, Velasquez delivered a strong starting outing, and the bullpen locked it all down. But Williams big blow started the rally that broke open what looked like it could become another unnecessarily tough afternoon.
It’s been a tough season for the 25-year-old outfielder. Following a demotion, Williams tore apart pitching at the Triple-A level. But has struggled to find both consistent playing time and his rhythm at the plate in Philadelphia.
This hit in today’s game could be a much needed confidence booster for Williams, and if he contributes a few more key hits in the next couple of weeks, he could find himself in the starting lineup more often then he has been all year. He could also end up a chip to play as the MLB trade deadline arrives one week from today.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Friday at 7:05 vs. Atlanta Braves @ Citizens Bank Park
- NBC 10
- Sportsradio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)
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