Phillies

Mets 6, Phillies 5: Jake Arrieta unravels against Mets, who are fired up by his HBPs

Mets 6, Phillies 5: Jake Arrieta unravels against Mets, who are fired up by his HBPs

BOX SCORE 

NEW YORK — The New York Mets hit just about everything that Jake Arrieta had Saturday night and the Phillies suffered their 21st loss in the last 34 games. The final score from Citi Field was 6-5.

Arrieta could not hold an early 3-1 lead and he completely unraveled in the fifth inning.

The Phillies are 46-43 as they head into the final game before the All-Star break on Sunday.

The Phillies are in third place in the NL East, 6½ games behind first-place Atlanta and a half-game behind second-place Washington.

Arrieta’s night

In a word, it was terrible. He allowed 14 base runners in 4 1/3 innings. He gave up 11 hits and hit three batters.

Two of the hit batsmen came in an eventful fifth inning in which the Mets scored three runs to erase a one-run deficit and take a 6-4 lead.

The fun started with one out when Arrieta hit Todd Frazier with a pitch. Frazier, who was hit by Vince Velasquez on Friday night, was not happy with Arrieta — even though the offending pitch was a changeup and Arrieta was clearly not trying to hit anyone. Both benches were warned, ridiculously, and Frazier was eventually ejected. Arrieta then gave up a double to Dominic Smith on the next pitch before hitting Amed Rosario with another changeup to load the bases.

Mets manager Mickey Callaway wanted Arrieta ejected after hitting Rosario with a 1-2 changeup. The umpires, who got the first warning wrong, got this one right and let Arrieta stay in the game. Callaway was ejected.

Arrieta then gave up a three-run gapper to Tomas Nido as the Mets took the lead.

Continued struggles

Arrieta has a 4.67 ERA in 18 starts this season. His ERA is 6.63 in his last seven starts.

Over his last 27 starts, dating to Aug. 12 when he began a late-season slide in 2018, his ERA is 5.17.

The Phillies thought they were getting more for their three-year, $75 million investment (see story).

Defensive issues

Arrieta allowed a leadoff single in the first, hit a batter and gave up an RBI double to Michael Conforto. Conforto hit it hard right over the first-base bag. Rhys Hoskins was in position to make a play and help Arrieta because he was holding the runner, but the ball got past him.

Extra-base pop

Thursday night in Atlanta, the Phils lost, 12-6. They had 12 hits, but just one for extra bases. The Braves had 12 hits, 10 for extra bases.

The Phillies have slugged more in the first two games in New York. They had five extra-base hits in Friday night’s win and three early in this game. Jay Bruce (two-run shot) and Maikel Franco went deep on Noah Syndergaard in the second inning and Hoskins had and RBI double in the third.

The offense slowed later in the game and the Phils were just 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position for the night. Jean Segura, down 0-2 in the count, battled Seth Lugo for nine pitches before striking out with two men on to end the eighth. That was the Phils’ last best chance.

Up next

The series concludes Sunday afternoon in the final game before the All-Star break. Aaron Nola (7-2, 3.89) pitches against Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.42).

Nola is on a roll. He has given up just one earned run and 11 hits in 23 innings over his last three starts.

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Potentially awkward scenes we could see during 2020 MLB season

Potentially awkward scenes we could see during 2020 MLB season

Baseball fans are hoping for the best. 

Everyone that loves the sport is hopeful that the owners and players can iron out their financial differences and come to an agreement that clears the way for a 2020 season. In the meantime, we are left to wonder what a season played in the midst of a pandemic might look like. 

Beyond there being no fans in the ballparks when the season starts, players would also keep their distance from one another, both on and off the field. 

A potentially awkward scene comes to mind. Say the home team wins in walk-off fashion. What would the celebration look like? We're used to seeing the entire team stream out of the dugout and charge whoever delivered the winning hit, mobbing him somewhere along the basepaths and ripping his jersey off.

Or in the case of a walk-off home run, everyone waiting at home plate to dump the Gatorade bucket on the hero and jump around in unison.

We saw Phillies star Bryce Harper in the middle of several such celebrations last season, most notably after his walk-off grand slam against the Cubs. What would that look like in 2020? Harper sprinting around the bases, charging towards home plate where ... no one is waiting for him. Everyone gives him a thumbs-up from a distance and goes their separate ways? It's a weird scenario to think about. But it will likely play out quite a bit should there be a season. 

Former Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur was a guest on the Phillies Talk podcast this week and said that if he were still playing, he'd probably still hug a teammate after a walk-off and just pay the fine.  

Back to the possibility of playing in empty ballparks without fans. At first thought, that doesn't seem like too big of a deal for the players. Baseball is baseball, it's still the same game with or without fans. But not having the energy and electricity that the fans provide could have a big impact on certain players, particularly the Phillies' best player. Francoeur, for example, explained how players sometimes really use the fans' energy to get up for day-games when the fatigue of the season mounts.

No one feeds off the fans more than Harper. He loves playing to the crowd at Citizens Bank Park — pumping up the fans sitting behind him in right field and gesturing to the crowd behind the dugout after a big home run. Harper fires up the fans, and vice versa. 

Harper is equally effective in feeding off negative energy on the road. He's probably been booed in opposing ballparks more than any player in baseball and he's been dealing with it since his teenage years. He was heckled throughout a game in San Francisco last season, with one fan yelling 'overrated' each time Harper stepped into the batter's box (a chant Harper hears in most road cities). He channeled that negativity into a pair of monster home runs and made sure to let the fans know about it afterward.

His first game back in Washington last season is another great example. Nationals fans were all over Harper the entire night. He responded by going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a two-run home run into the upper deck.  

Harper is a showman. He relishes his roles of fan-favorite at home and villain on the road. Harper will still be effective playing in an empty ballpark. But it's fair to wonder if the lack of energy could have an adverse impact on him.  

It's one of countless unknowns as we brace for what promises to be a baseball season unlike any we've seen. Of course, there is still plenty of work to be done to ensure there will be a season. The clock is ticking. 

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Revelations and takeaways from the Roy Halladay E60 documentary

Revelations and takeaways from the Roy Halladay E60 documentary

There was so much of note in Friday's powerful hourlong E60 documentary of the life and death of Roy Halladay. Heartbreaking recollections from his widow, Brandy, troubling details of his addiction to prescription opioids, and the valuable lesson that hopefully can come from such a painful tragedy.

"I just wanted him to slow down," Brandy said.

"Roy had none," she said of the balance in his life at points.

"He didn't feel he had the luxury of making mistakes, he was truly tormented."

How Halladay's opioid addiction began

Halladay popped his back during the 2011 season and pitched through it. He pitched through pain the night the Phillies' playoff hopes ended in a gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS after a franchise-record 102 regular-season wins.

Brandy told a story of Roy experiencing such back pain that he once fell down sneezing around that time.

Halladay began taking prescription opioids in the spring of 2012, obtaining them by paying cash to a doctor in Florida who was recommended to him by a Phillies teammate.

"He was continuing to hurt himself, and the more he hurt himself, the more dependent he would be on medication," Brandy said. "He was breaking his back. He actually shrunk three inches from compression in his spine. That's insane."

Former teammate and pupil Kyle Kendrick, who looked up to Halladay as a role model and mentor, noticed that something wasn't right. 

"At his locker, I was right next to him. You'd try to talk to him and you'd feel like he wasn't there," Kendrick said. "As a friend, I felt like I should say something. I felt like he might need help. A teammate and I said something to someone who worked for the team."

The teammate confronted Halladay about his drug use during the 2013 season but nothing changed.

Fear of public scrutiny

Halladay's body became dependent on the medications to function. All the while, he privately dealt with the fear of others finding out. He was tormented by the potential public scrutiny.

"Everybody should be able to ask for help and they shouldn't be looked down on and judged for that," Brandy said several times throughout the documentary. If there is one lesson to be learned from this tragedy, it is that.

Roy Halladay went to rehab for his painkiller addiction during the 2013 season, his final year in the majors. Many Phillies fans will remember the stress-filled, sweat-soaked 13 starts Halladay made that final year. At times, that was a reaction to the medication in his system.

He left rehab early, Brandy said, because he had been recognized and someone had snuck a phone into the facility. Roy was nervous about word of his stint in rehab leaking out.

The struggle to find a purpose

After retirement, in the years before Halladay recaptured some of his joy and passion by coaching his sons' baseball teams, Roy "stopped taking care of himself, inside and out," according to Brandy. His weight rose to over 300 pounds at one point in retirement, then down to 205 at another.

He reentered rehab in January 2015 for the painkiller addiction and was there three months. When he returned home, he began seeing a psychiatrist and was formally diagnosed with ADD, depression and anxiety. 

In retirement, Halladay struggled to find a purpose. 

"He was lost, he didn't know what to do with himself," Brandy said. "Flying was therapeutic."

Doc's days in the air

The circumstances of Halladay's death were documented in a 2018 toxicology report and in a report from the National Transportation Safety Board last month. He had Zolpidem, amphetamine and morphine in his system at the time he crashed his Icon A5 plane into the Gulf of Mexico. According to the NTSB report, Halladay was doing extreme acrobatics when he lost control.

Halladay received his pilot's license in 2013. He had spent much time in the air with his father, Roy II, a pilot, from a young age, and had accrued more than 700 flying hours himself before the crash.

"He was an excellent pilot," Roy II said of his son. "Mechanically, his skills were very good. He kept working for additional ratings."

Yet still, Brandy didn't feel it was totally safe. 

"He was trying to fill this void by buying boats and planes and cars and shoes," she said. "Roy was an adrenaline guy, he was always looking for that rush."

When Roy got his Icon A5, a plane that made him feel like he was flying a fighter jet, "he was so excited, he couldn't control himself," Brandy said.

"My concern was after he got the (Icon A5), he kept talking about how sporty it was, how much of a sports car it was," his father said. "I said be careful with it."

The tragedy

Halladay died 35 days after getting the Icon A5. According to the NTSB report, he frequently flew at low altitudes in shallow water and flew underneath a bridge in Tampa with Brandy on board 12 days before the fatal crash.

On the day of the crash, he and Brandy were supposed to see one of their sons' band perform at a school concert. Roy told Brandy he'd return the Icon A5 to the airport and meet her there. He texted her while she was driving, "I'm so sorry, I should have just gone with you, another wasted day." Instead of flying north to the airport, he had flown west to the Gulf of Mexico where the crash occurred.

"I had so much more in the future I wanted for us and it was hard to know that it was just done," Brandy Halladay said.

"I know in my heart it was an accident. I want to make sure that people understand that he was just a man. Perfect, I hate that word, perfect. I just want him to be Roy. I hope somebody hears our story and says, 'Wow, I'm going to ask for help.'"

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