Final Score: Phillies 5, Cardinals 3
Madness ensued. It was fun until it wasn’t.
Bryce Harper left Wednesday’s game after getting hit in the face with a high 90s sinker in the sixth inning. Didi Gregorius was also hit and manager Joe Girardi was ejected after both benches were warned.
With Vince Velasquez on the mound, the Phillies were able to stay in the game and turn their rage into productivity. Andrew McCutchen drove in a run following a brief two-game stint on the bench. Didi Gregorius followed with the Phillies’ league-leading 11th sacrifice fly. Lead-off hitter Brad Miller also homered during Wednesday’s game.
The four-game set against St. Louis ends Thursday with a matinee finale. Aaron Nola takes the mound against Kwang Hyun Kim. It’ll be interesting to see how both teams respond after the sequence of events in this game.
- The best backup catcher in baseball drove in the first run on an opposite-field single to left. It was Andrew Knapp’s fourth RBI on the season.
- Tyler O’Neill sent a hanging slider from Velasquez into the seats in left for a two-run home run in the bottom of the second. It’s one of the more effortless home runs you’ll see.
- Paul Goldschmidt hit his ninth career home run against the Phillies in the third. The man affectionately known as Goldy lined a 1-0 fastball 431 feet to center to make it 3-1.
- A couple more innings of offensive ineptitude passed before the Phillies showed some life again. Brad Miller caught a hanging curveball from Oviedo and deposited it into the right field seats for a three-run home run to tie the game at three in the fifth.
- In relief of Velasquez, Brandon Kintzler came into the game for his first outing in a week. He struck out Goldschmidt and got Paul DeJong to ground out to third, stranding two runners on.
- Harper was hit in the face with a 97 mph sinker from Genesis Cabrera and immediately taken out of the game. The next batter Gregorius was also hit, but he remained in the game. Both benches were warned, which rightfully infuriated Girardi. He was ejected for showing his displeasure and that’s putting it mildly.
- Cardinals reliever Tyler Webb left the bases loaded for his teammate Ryan Helsley. Gregorius brought in a run home on a sacrifice fly, scoring Alec Bohm who was clearly safe. The Phillies went into the bottom of the seventh with a two-run lead.
- The bullpen was fantastic tonight. Kintzler, Connor Brogdon, Jose Alvarado and Sam Coonrod combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Coonrod left the mound and shared a few words with the Cardinals’ dugout.
- Héctor Neris followed up with one of his easiest saves of the season. He faced Justin Williams, Andrew Knizner and Austin Dean and retired them on nine pitches.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Johan Oviedo: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 86 pitches.
The Cardinals are going with a six-man rotation with Oviedo being the sixth man. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said pregame that he expected the 23-year-old right-hander to go around five innings and he did just that. He failed to put hitters away once he got ahead in the count at times, but he managed to strike out seven and retire eight consecutive hitters from the second through the fourth inning.
Vince Velasquez: 4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 74 pitches
With a well-rested bullpen, Girardi opted to lift Velasquez after getting the first out and it worked perfectly as Kintzler was able to silence the middle of the Cardinals’ order. Overall, tonight was a typical Velasquez night. At times, he was locating pitches with precision and retiring hitters looking on strikes. He also left too many mistake pitches over the plate and Cardinal hitters took advantage.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Joe Girardi
Girardi last played in a major-league game in 2003, but he gets the player of the game nod for tonight. When you think about it, he pulled all the right strings. Starting Miller in the lead-off spot paid dividends and taking out Velasquez in favor of Kintzler when he did may have saved the Phillies a few runs. His ejection from the game was also entertaining to watch and could be a spark the team needs.
Girardi has been heavily criticized often for his decision-making this season, but before his first ejection of the season, the Phillies skipper managed a good game.
- Bryce Harper went to the hospital to get a CT scan following the hit to the face. It caught more of his cheek as opposed to his nose. Harper provided an update on Instagram.
- Joe Girardi also mentioned that Didi Gregorius could require imaging on his ribs. In his return to the lineup following an injury on April 23, Gregorius mentioned that he tries his best to avoid getting hit because he’ll have to deal with inflammation that won’t subside for weeks. There’s a very real chance that the Phillies could be without two of their best hitters for an extended period of time.
Quote of the Game
Andrew McCutchen candidly reflected on his early season struggles.
“The last thing you want to do when you’re playing is suck. You don’t want to suck. You come here, you want to hold up your end of the bargain. Right now, I have been sucking. I want to be better than where I am. To be able to come through and get that hit is definitely gratifying but I’ll be lying to you if I said I wasn’t thinking about the strikeouts I had as well. I know I’m going to get better, continue to keep getting better and quite frankly, not suck.”
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Thursday, April 15 vs. St. Louis Cardinals at 1:15 pm ET.
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- 94 WIP
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