2019 Postgame Recaps

Sean Rodriguez – Sean Rodriguez! – hits walk-off home run


Sean Rodriguez hit a walk-off home run Monday. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

After Pat Burrell hit a walk-off home run against the San Francisco Giants on May 2, 2008, Harry Kalas repeated Burrell’s name a second time just to make sure what he had just seen actually happened. That’s about how Monday night’s Philadelphia Phillies victory felt, with Sean Rodriguez, not exactly the most popular Phillie, lining a walk-off home run to help the Phillies secure a crucial victory.

It did appear for a few innings Monday night that Jason Vargas and Brad Miller would lead the Phillies to an important – albeit uninspiring – victory.

With Maikel Franco having been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley (on his birthday) Monday, Miller, one of the players that the Phillies elected to keep over him, ended a scoreless tie in the bottom half of the fourth. With J.T. Realmuto having reached first earlier in the inning on a single, Miller brought Realmuto and himself home with one swing of the bat:

In the top of the fifth, Pirates starter Joe Musgrove cut the Phillies lead in half. Musgrove, who entered the evening hitting just .119, lined a ball off the left-field wall that plated Adam Frazier, making it 2-1.

Vargas entered the seventh inning with the 2-1 lead still intact, but quickly ran into trouble. Following a Melky Cabrera single, Pirates third baseman Colin Moran lined a ball that narrowly missed landing in the flower bed just over the left field wall for a home run. Still, the double scored Cabrera from first base and signaled that Vargas’ night was coming to an end on a sour note. Following a walk of Jacob Stallings, Vargas was pulled in favor of Jose Alvarez.

Alvarez ultimately threw just one pitch in his outing, with it coming in the form of a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Frazier. While the Phillies did record an out on the play, Hoskins bobbled it, or else he may have had a play at third base. Instead, he was forced to throw to first base, making it an easy decision to walk All-Star Josh Bell when he was introduced with runners on second and third and just one out.

With the bases loaded and a right-handed hitter due up, Gabe Kapler elected to pull Alvarez after just one pitch in favor of Jared Hughes. As fun as it may be to watch Hughes sprint to the mound on the bullpen, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park was exactly cheerful when Kevin Newman lined a two-run single into left field off of Hughes to break the 2-2 tie and give the Pirates a 4-2 lead.

However, in the bottom of the eighth inning two of the Phillies big bats came alive in what appeared to be the defining inning of the game at the time.

After both Logan Morrison and Rhys Hoskins struck out to end the inning, new father Bryce Harper launched his 10th home run in the month of July:

Two batters later, with Richard Rodriguez still on the mound for the Pirates, former Pirate Corey Dickerson crushed a go-ahead two-run home run:

Unfortunately for the Phillies, it wasn’t that simple. In the top of the ninth, Hector Neris allowed a 432-foot bomb off the bat of Bell to tie the game:

As difficult as it is to imagine, the bottom of the ninth was perhaps more frustrating from a Phillies perspective.

After Pirates reliever Chris Stratton loaded the bases up with one out – Brad Miller and Sean Rodriguez walked, before an Andrew Knapp single – Rhys Hoskins came to the plate with a chance to end the game. Instead, a struggling Hoskins swung at the first two pitches he saw, with the at-bat ending with an infield pop-up.

Bryce Harper followed Hoskins by striking out swinging on a 3-2 count, though that ignores the fact that the first two strikes in the at-bat were called strikes even though they were clearly out of the strike zone. With electronic umpires, the Phillies would have won the game on two different occasions in the at-bat. Instead, Harper struck out, sending the game to extra innings.

Stratton stayed on to pitch the bottom of the 10th for the Pirates. He struggled with his control again, but the Phillies weren’t able to manage to bring home the winning run.

After a Realmuto leadoff single and a walk by Dickerson, Jean Segura lined a ball to center field, which off the bat looked like it could be the game-winning hit. Pirates center fielder Starling Marte had other ideas, though, as he made a sliding catch, got up and fired to second base to double up Realmuto. With no one out, Realmuto should have been more cautious on the basepaths, but it’s hard not to just give a bulk of the credit on the play to Marte.

Finally, after two scoreless inning in relief from Mike Morin, the Phillies broke through in the bottom of the 11th.

Sean Rodriguez, who entered the evening hitting just .147 against right-handed pitchers in 2019, sent the Phillies home with a win by hitting a line drive home run just over the left field wall:

With the victory, the Phillies improve to 67-62 and move just one game back of the Chicago Cubs for the second Wild Card spot in the National League.

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance

  • Just because the Phillies pitching staff other than Aaron Nola has collapsed in 2019 doesn’t mean Jason Vargas can be expected to pitch like a No. 2 starter. That not who he is, and it’s not what the Phillies acquired him to be. Still, Vargas gave the Phillies a chance to win Monday. He was very efficient through the first six innings before running into trouble in the seventh inning. In total, he gave up four runs on seven hits in six plus innings.
  • With the exception of the two-run home run that he allowed to Brad Miller, Joe Musgrove was very good for the Pirates Monday night. The 26-year-old righty – acquired in the January 2018 Gerrit Cole trade – limited the Phillies to just two runs on five hits in six innings. Musgove limited the Phillies to just one unearned run on two hits in six innings in Pittsburgh on July 20.

TicketIQ Next Game

  • Aug. 27 vs. Pirates at 7:05 p.m. ET
  • Citizens Bank Park
  • NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)

MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION

  1. J.T. Realmuto Is Having A Special Season
  2. The Phillies Future In Center Field Is Murky
  3. What’s Wrong With Rhys Hoskins?
  4. Former Phillie Aaron Altherr Designated For Assignment For Fourth Time In 2019
  5. 10 Years Later, Brad Lidge Talks ‘Battling’ Through 2009

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jeff Orbach

    August 27, 2019 at 9:08 am

    This could’ve been entitled “Blind Squirrel finds nut”

    • Tracey

      August 27, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      Stopped Clock is Right for Second Time in a Day!!!

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