Gabe Kapler's risky decision pays off in win vs. Brewers

Gabe Kapler's risky decision pays off in win vs. Brewers


Gabe Kapler made another move Saturday that would have surely caused an uproar if it backfired ... but it didn't.

With the Phillies up a run and men on second and third with two outs in the top of the sixth, Kapler opted to pinch-hit for a cruising Zach Eflin with Maikel Franco. 

Franco was intentionally walked by Brewers lefty reliever Boone Logan, who then walked 9-hole hitter J.P. Crawford on a borderline 3-2 pitch to bring in a run. Cesar Hernandez followed with an RBI infield single that gave the Phils a 4-1 lead that stood up as the final score.

If Franco or Crawford would have made an out to end the inning, many would be questioning why Kapler yanked Eflin, who had retired 11 of the last 13 hitters he faced.

Eflin pitched another very good game against a very good lineup, allowing just a run on three hits over five innings with six strikeouts. He also picked off Lorenzo Cain and caught Travis Shaw stealing.

While some will still say that Eflin was pulled too early, the move made sense if looked at contextually. The Phillies' offense has been brutal lately and this was a rare run-scoring opportunity. And the Brewers have an elite triumvirate in the bullpen of Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffers and Corey Knebel. If you don't score in that situation and it remains a one-run game, you're definitely seeing one or more of those relievers and it becomes a whole lot harder to score.

Hoskins delivers

Rhys Hoskins had a powerful and productive game and blasted the hardest-hit ball of his MLB career off Junior Guerra, who had a hilarious reaction.

Another royal inning

It appeared the Phillies were again set to use Seranthony Dominguez for six outs. It would've been the fourth time already he'd gone two innings and his third two-inning save. But after Dominguez stranded two baserunners in a scoreless eighth inning, Kapler turned to Hector Neris for his first save since May 21. 

Up next

The series concludes Sunday at 2:15 p.m. when Aaron Nola (8-2, 2.27) opposes Chase Anderson (5-5, 4.13).

The Phillies have a big starting pitching advantage and could really use a second straight series win. After leaving Milwaukee, the Phils have 14 straight games against teams with a combined winning percentage of .610.

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Hector Neris answers Dodgers' bombs with an F-bomb

Hector Neris answers Dodgers' bombs with an F-bomb

Phillies closer Hector Neris has been beaten up badly by the Los Angeles Dodgers in his career.

Neris has allowed eight home runs to the Dodgers in his career in just 12 2/3 innings. Most of the home runs have been spectacular shots that have cost the Phillies games, including two of them this season.

Two years ago, Neris gave up three homers in the ninth inning as the Dodgers rallied for a surreal win in Dodger Stadium.

Neris gave up another home run to the Dodgers on Thursday, but he managed to survive it and nail down the save in the Phillies’ 7-6 win.

It was an emotional victory for the Phillies — Gabe Kapler said as much afterward — and Neris’ emotions definitely got the best of him.

As Justin Turner’s game-ending fly ball nestled into right-fielder Bryce Harper’s glove, Neris turned to the Dodgers’ dugout and shouted, “F--- you!”

The Dodgers did not like it. From the dugout, several players stared down Neris. He stared back. Dodgers catcher Russell Martin could be seen inviting Neris to rendezvous in the tunnel for further discussion.

That was the extent of the drama on the field, but Dodgers slugger Max Muncy managed to get in a pretty good verbal lick on Neris during postgame clubhouse interviews.

“He looked right into our dugout, screamed at us, and yelled, ‘F--- you!’ " Muncy told reporters. "He’s blown about eight saves against us over the last two years. I guess he was just excited. He wants to act that way, good for him.”

Neris downplayed the verbal confrontation.

“It was nothing,” he said. “It's the emotion of the series, you know? It's a great win for my team. I just let my emotions get out. I'll just try to be focused on the next series. That's the only thing I have to say about that.

“Just the emotions. Just the game. I'm so happy, I'm so excited for my team to win that game. That's a good team. My team needed that win.”

Neris has given up homers in four of his last five appearances. He blew a save when he gave up a three-run homer in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Dodgers. (The Phils came back to win in the bottom of the ninth.) After the home run, Neris plunked David Freese and was ejected. Neris received a three-game suspension from MLB. He is appealing it.

The season series between the two teams is complete. The Dodgers took five of seven games from the Phillies and out-homered the Phils, 23-7.

That's a lot of bombs.

And one F-bomb.

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Watch Hector Heris, Dodgers exchange expletives after big Phillies' win

Watch Hector Heris, Dodgers exchange expletives after big Phillies' win

After hanging on for the save in Thursday's 7-6 Phillies win, Hector Neris was pumped up. Well, maybe a little too pumped up.

After getting Justin Turner to fly out for the final out of today’s game, Neris let out a big celebration and it included some choice words directed toward the Los Angeles Dodgers' dugout (see video above).

Let’s face it, Neris has been downright awful in his career against the Dodgers, including blowing a save two days ago, but being able to record the final out of today’s game with the Phillies still leading is all Neris cared about. It was probably a huge relief for a reeling closer.

The Dodgers, however, were not thrilled.

Neris drew the ire of the Dodgers two nights ago after drilling David Freese with a pitch in his shoulder and he received a three-game suspension that he is currently appealing. This has certainly been brewing and Neris’ celebration shows just that.

As you can see in the video above, Neris basically said he was just excited to get the win for his team. Sometimes you get caught up in the moment.

With a 6.10 ERA in June and a 9.45 ERA in July, here’s hoping there’s more of these positive moments for Neris, big celebration afterwards or not.  

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