Final Score: Giants 5, Phillies 3
Friday’s series opener against the San Francisco Giants was the kind of game fans shouldn’t feel bad about missing.
Starter Vince Velasquez averaged 21 pitches per frame in a four-inning outing. With two outs in the fourth, Velasquez walked the opposing pitcher Johnny Cueto, who eventually came around to score a batter later. It was the fourth time in Velasquez’s career that he allowed an opposing pitcher to score following a free pass.
Odúbel Herrera, Brad Miller, Rhys Hoskins and Andrew Knapp were among the Phillies players who struggled on defense. Herrera and McCutchen homered against Cueto, but it wasn’t enough to make up for Velasquez’s struggles.
If you couldn’t find the game on TV, you weren’t alone. The game aired exclusively for free on NBC’s streaming service Peacock. Phillies broadcasters John Kruk and Jimmy Rollins called the action alongside Jon Miller and Mike Krukow.
- Odúbel Herrera began the game with his first leadoff home run since July 1, 2016. Peter Bourjos was the Phillies’ No. 2 hitter in that game, for those who are curious.
- Velasquez labored through much of the first couple of innings. It caught up to him when eight-hole hitter Jason Vosler singled to tie the game. The ball lingered in the air for a moment and from Brandon Crawford’s perspective at third, it looked like Bryce Harper may have caught the ball in right. Only one run scored on the play despite there being two runners in scoring position.
- Rhys Hoskins misplayed a ball on his glove side on a live-drive off the bat of San Francisco’s LaMonte Wade Jr., which scored Steven Duggar from second. Another run later scored on an Andrew Knapp passed ball. The defense left the field with no errors on the scoreboard, but the defense, along with Velasquez’s inability to pitch efficiently, cost the team three runs.
- In his 68th career at-bat against Cueto, Andrew McCutchen homered to the new Oracle Park visiting bullpen in center field to tie the game. It’s been nearly 10 years since McCutchen last homered as a clean-up hitter.
- Things were much easier for Velasquez in the third and fourth innings — until Cueto came up to the plate with two outs. The Phillies starter lost him and the next batter Wade put the barrel to the ball and tripled home a run. Cueto, who is the not the fastest runner, scored easily from first.
- The Giants doubled their lead in the fifth on a Brandon Belt home run to right field. Bailey Falter, who threw in relief of Velasquez, threw a fastball that caught way too much of the inside part of the plate. The home run ended up being the only blemish on his line as Falter was solid in three innings of work.
- Harper was caught once again trying to stretch a single into a double. The left fielder Wade did an excellent job of anticipating where the ball was going to land and played it perfectly. With a nice throw to first, Wilmer Flores tagged Harper out at second. He looked safe at second, but the Phillies decided not to challenge.
- J.T. Realmuto replaced Knapp in the seventh inning. The Phillies backup catcher was hit with a foul ball to the face in the sixth inning. The blow knocked Knapp off his feet and the ball appeared to hit around his chin area. Joe Girardi said after the game that Knapp will enter concussion protocol. Rafael Marchan will be with the team on Saturday.
- The Giants bullpen (Dominic Leone, Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee) combined to retire eight consecutive Phillies hitters between the seventh and ninth innings.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Johnny Cueto: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 2 HRs, 94 pitches
Herrera and McCutchen came into this game with the most past success against the veteran pitcher. Both hitters took advantage and homered against him. Besides the pair of round trippers and an awkward fall on the mound in the third, Cueto was solid.
Vince Velasquez: 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO, 84 pitches
The Spencer Howard/Falter piggyback plans complicate the situation, but Velasquez has to believe that his spot in the rotation is in danger if he keeps pitching the way he does. He ended the second inning with 53 pitches thrown, which perfectly symbolizes his struggles with efficiency in this game.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: LaMonte Wade Jr.
The Giants left fielder went 2-for-4 with a triple and double. The 27-year-old also made an excellent play on a single that Harper tried to stretch to a double. Wade was acquired in a low-profile trade with the Twins in February and has become a key contributor for the Giants.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Saturday, June 19 vs. San Francisco Giants at 4:05 pm ET
- 94 WIP
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