Final score: Phillies 4, Padres 3
Not too long ago, it seemed like the route for the Phillies to reach the postseason was simple: division or bust. Now — with the Braves on fire and showing no signs of slowing, and the Phillies four games back of the NL East lead — that might not be the case.
Friday bolstered that argument. The Phillies took the series opener from the San Diego Padres, who hold the second NL Wild Card spot, and now sit four games back in that race as well — with a chance to make up more ground over the weekend. Granted, the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals are all ahead of the Phillies in the wild card race, but it’s a semi-realistic possibility nonetheless.
In order for them to have a chance at either playoff spot, though, the Phillies have to hit better — much better — than they have of late. And a couple innings after wasting a runner on second with nobody out, the Phillies managed to put together an encouraging two-out rally. A Jean Segura walk, J.T. Realmuto RBI double and Bryce Harper two-run homer put them up 3-0 in the third after the first two batters of the inning had been retired.
But Harper wasn’t the only superstar targeted by the Phillies in the 2019 offseason who pulled a two-run homer in the third inning. Manny Machado roped a 119.6-mph line drive to left that, despite its 15-degree launch angle, had enough juice behind it to nick the top of the left field wall and sneak into the seats, cutting the lead to one.
The Phillies eventually took that 3-2 lead into the late innings, but it wasn’t easy. Héctor Neris, who finished the fifth inning in Moore’s wake, walked the bases loaded in the sixth before ending the inning with a Tommy Pham groundout. It was the second bases-loaded jam the Phillies escaped; Moore struck out his counterpart and former teammate Snell in the second to end a threat of his own.
The Phillies kept up the two-out magic in the eighth inning, when Andrew McCutchen lined a double to left, scoring Segura and putting the Phillies up two.
That insurance run would prove crucial. Archie Bradley allowed two walks and a hit to load the bases in the eighth, and Ian Kennedy came in and hit Fernando Tatis Jr. in the head to force home a run. But, with the help of a generous strike two call that got Jayce Tingler and eventually Machado himself ejected, Kennedy set Machado down swinging to end the inning with the Phillies still in front.
He then fired a perfect ninth, and that was that.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Matt Moore: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB (1 IBB), 4 SO, 75 pitches
Friday was the second straight mid-70s hook for Moore when the lefty may have had more in the tank, but Joe Girardi not wanting another matchup against Machado is understandable. Moore wasn’t at his best (like he was Saturday), but all things considered, he wasn’t at his worst. Not-so-sharp command led him to three unintentional walks, and the pitch to Machado was a mistake, but it was far from a disastrous outing. His ERA is 5.93.
Blake Snell: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO, 92 pitches
If Snell had been able to finish off the third, his start would have looked completely different. He couldn’t, though, and despite throwing three 1-2-3 innings and working out of a defense-inflicted jam in the first, his ERA rose a couple ticks to 4.82. Needless to say, the Padres certainly had higher hopes for his 2021 season when they acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays in late December.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Saturday, August 21 vs. San Diego Padres at Petco Park
- 8:40 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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