Phillies are 5-1 because their offense is relentless

Phillies are 5-1 because their offense is relentless

Four hours before the scheduled first pitch, Phillies officials were strongly considering postponing Friday night’s game and playing a separate-admission doubleheader on Saturday. That’s how bad the weather forecast was.

The Phils rolled the dice that they could get the game in and it paid off. Yes, it was cold. Yes, it was wet. Yes, it was downright miserable. But everyone left happy when the Phils scored a 10-4 win over the Minnesota Twins at Citizens Bank Park (see observations).

“It was really rough out there,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It was cold. And it was just a consistent wet. I know the outfielders were having some trouble seeing the ball.”

The teams played through a relentless rain for the first five innings.

And you know what else was relentless?

The Phillies’ offense.

Check it out: The Phils have played six games. They are 5-1. They have scored at least eight runs five times and reached double digits twice. Not since 1898, when Ed Delahanty and Nap Lajoie were smacking it around for the local nine, have the Phils opened a season by scoring at least five runs in each of their first six games.

“(Bench coach) Rob Thomson and I were talking about it on the bench,” Kapler said. “He looked at me toward the end of the game and he said, 'Man, this offense can grind you down.' That's a good description of what our guys have done thus far.”

The Phillies’ ability to score runs has started with the way they are seeing pitches, wearing down pitchers and getting on base. They are averaging over 6.5 walks per game. They had nine on Friday night. They saw 192 pitches, including 36 from Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi. The Phils knocked Odorizzi out in the first inning and that’s always a good way to start a three-game series because of the effect it can have on an opponent’s bullpen.

“The story tonight is 192 pitches,” Kapler said. “The league average is 140-ish. That's what we've done the entire season. We've grinded down pitchers. We've gotten big hits. It's the deep counts. It's the walks. It's the great at-bats that have carried us thus far.”

Cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins had a big game with three singles, a walk and four RBIs. He personally saw 36 pitches.

No opposing starting pitcher has gone more than five innings against this Phillies’ offense.

“That’s very encouraging,” Hoskins said. “We had a lot of that last year, too, especially towards the beginning. We also brought in some pretty good hitters, especially Andrew McCutchen at the top, taking at-bats like he does, leading off a game, leading off an inning, and it’s pretty contagious.

“Our lineup is just really deep. Guys are taking professional at-bats every time through a lineup and that wears on a pitcher. You take walks. Good things usually happen when you have guys on base all the time.”

And on the bases, these Phillies are aggressive.

For instance, Hoskins had a rare three-run single in the seventh inning, all because Bryce Harper capitalized on some slow play in the Minnesota outfield and scored from first base.

If Hoskins finishes with 100 RBIs, he can thank Harper for being aggressive.

“That was outstanding,” Hoskins said. “We had great base running all game. That’s just baseball instincts. You can’t teach that. I asked (third base coach) Dusty Wathan if he sent him and he didn’t. That was just all Bryce. It was fun in all facets of the game today.”

Hoskins needed to have some fun. He made a costly eighth-inning error in Wednesday’s one-run loss at Washington. Without that error, the Phillies might be 6-0.

But 5-1 ain’t too shabby.

“That’s baseball,” Hoskins said. “The beautiful part about this game is you usually get put in the same situations right away. So being able to have a short memory helps. All I was thinking about was today and a new opportunity.”

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Jake Arrieta upset with Bryce Harper for ejection, sounds off on 'flat' Phillies

Jake Arrieta upset with Bryce Harper for ejection, sounds off on 'flat' Phillies

NEW YORK — Jake Arrieta slammed the shelf above his locker at Citi Field, still peeved moments after speaking with reporters.

Arrieta pitched relatively well in the Phillies' 5-1 loss to the Mets (see observations). The source of his anger was an untimely ejection of the Phillies' best player, Bryce Harper, in the top of the fourth inning, combined with an overall "flat" performance from the Phillies' offense.

The 33-year-old former Cy Young winner didn't mince words. He didn't rush to defend Harper or belabor the quick hook of home plate umpire Mark Carlson, who tossed Harper for arguing balls and strikes in the Phillies' dugout.

"He's got to understand, we need him in right field," Arrieta said. "I don't care how bad the umpire is. He wasn't great for either side. I'm out there trying to make pitches, he misses some calls. So what? We need him out there. 

"We were flat from start to finish. Two-hour delay, it doesn't matter. We have to be ready to play. We weren't and it showed.

"It's troubling. I'm out there doing everything I can to win a game. I need my guys behind me and they weren't."

Harper was upset during his own fourth-inning at-bat, which ended in a called strike three. One of the pitches to Harper was slightly out of the strike zone, up and away. Four batters later, Hernandez took a pitch high and out of the zone, even more so than the one to Harper. It was called a strike and Harper said something that was deemed by Carlson to be over the line. In a blink, and before any warning was issued, Harper was sent to the showers.

"He made a comment when he was in the batter's box and then he made a comment as he left the batter's box after he struck out," Carlson said after the game. "What he said warranted an automatic ejection."

From Carlson's perspective, Harper's comment was personal and involved foul language.

The ejection was the 12th of Harper's eight-year career, second-most among active players to Matt Kemp. "I'm usually zero to 100," he said. "If you look at all my ejections, it's usually pretty calm and then bam, once it happens, I try to let it out I guess."

Sometimes, a moment like that can galvanize a team, create some positive energy. It didn't on this night. After Harper's ejection, Hernandez singled, then the next 16 Phillies went down in order to end the game.

"Emotionally, it should have given us a boost but it didn't," Arrieta said. "We were flat. The dugout was flat. The defense wasn't good. We didn't throw the ball well as a staff overall. We got beat."

Arrieta would have preferred Harper showed more restraint.

"We need him in right field. I don't care how bad (the ump) is, I need him in right field, I need him at the plate and he wasn't there. So that hurts.

"He missed some pitches but for both sides. If that's the case, that happens on a nightly basis usually. The umpire is going to miss some calls. So what? Next pitch. We've got a game to play.

"I'm not happy with the way we showed up today. We need to come out tomorrow ready to go."

Arrieta is clearly one of the leaders on this team and he was clearly delivering a message to Harper and his teammates Monday night. The pitcher had not yet talked with Harper before speaking to reporters.

The Phillies have lost four of their last five games. At 12-10, they are tied with the Mets atop the NL East. The Phillies have played 15 of their 22 games against NL East teams and have gone 9-6.

"I said it from the start. This first month was pretty important, with all the divisional games," said Rhys Hoskins, whose 401-foot home run was the Phillies' only run. 

"I don't think anybody in here is hitting the panic button at all. We've been pretty good at bouncing back. I think all of us in here are feeling pretty confident going into tomorrow. We're fine."

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Mets 5, Phillies 1: Bryce Harper ejected, Phillies' offense silenced

Mets 5, Phillies 1: Bryce Harper ejected, Phillies' offense silenced


NEW YORK — Bryce Harper got tossed, the Phillies' offense went silent, and following a 95-minute rain delay, the Phils were defeated 5-1 Monday night by the Mets.

Harper got the hook for arguing balls and strikes in the top of the fourth inning. Cesar Hernandez took a high pitch out of the zone that was called a strike and Harper said the magic words, resulting in an ejection from home plate umpire Mark Carlson. 

It was the 12th ejection of Harper's eight-year big-league career.

The Phillies have lost four of their last five games and are 12-10. The Mets have the same record.

Huge difference a week makes

Last Tuesday, all eight Phillies Steven Matz faced reached base and came around to score. He didn't record an out.

Facing the Phillies for a second straight start Monday, Matz dealt. Over six innings, he allowed one run on three hits and struck out six, including four K's the first four times he faced Harper and Andrew McCutchen.

Can't cash in

The Phils clearly miss Jean Segura, as any team would. Losing one hitter really can make a profound impact on a lineup, especially when he has the bat-to-ball skills and .328 batting average Segura has provided. On this night, it forced Gabe Kapler to move J.T. Realmuto up to the two-hole, which weakened the five- and eight-spots with Maikel Franco also moving up.

The Phillies' best run-scoring opportunity came in the third inning when Cesar Hernandez doubled, Aaron Altherr walked and Jake Arrieta sacrificed them over to second and third. McCutchen struck out and Realmuto grounded out to end the inning.

The Phillies' only run came on a 401-foot home run from Rhys Hoskins, again on a low pitch. Hoskins demolished an 84 mph changeup to left-center field and it barely went out because of the wind. On a normal night, it might have gone 430.

Can't blame Arrieta

For the fourth consecutive start, Arrieta pitched into the seventh inning. He couldn't complete seven innings this time, being pulled after allowing a leadoff single.

Through five starts, Arrieta is 3-2 with a 2.65 ERA. He struck out seven Mets, five looking.

He kept the Phillies in the game and didn't allow much hard contact but received just the lone run of support.

Injury updates

It sounds like Segura will return Saturday when he is first eligible to be activated from the 10-day IL.

Odubel Herrera may require a few additional days.

Scott Kingery is farther away. The Phillies won't have a timetable for another few days.

All three are dealing with hamstring injuries of varying degrees.

Up next

Zach Eflin (2-2, 3.68) opposes Zack Wheeler (1-2, 6.35) at 7:10 p.m. on NBCSP+.

The Phillies will want to take advantage of missing both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard in this series.

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