The Phillies are a lackluster 0-2-1 after Tuesday’s game in Dunedin. It’s too early to write any team or player off after such a small sample size. But, there are certainly some things to things that we ought to be happy with. At least, I am.
“And then depression set in.” Probably the line I most often repeat from Stripes. Now, I’m not clinically depressed, to claim that I am would be a disservice to people who do suffer from depression. But, the restrictions at the Complex have put me in an unhappy state of mind. I just can’t get into trying to report on stuff happening over 300 feet away, standing on a ladder, using binoculars. So, as you may have noticed, I have stopped going to the Complex.
I have started paying more attention to the Phillies’ games than I have in recent years. These early games are opportunities to watch “our” guys as they get a lot of playing time. I followed Sunday’s game on Game Day, Monday’s game on MLB.TV, and attended Tuesday’s game in Dunedin. (Thanks for the tickets, Boss!)
I already gave my impressions of Game One. Here are some observations from Games Two and Three.
Monday. If you didn’t get to watch the game, here are a few observations. The pitching was better. Only one walk but only 4 strikeouts. Aaron Nola was okay. He’s working on multiple pitches and actually threw all 4 of his during the game. His only mistake was hanging a curveball for a 2-run HR. Kintzler wasn’t bad. He nibbled until he threw a 3-2 cookie but got a double play. Ynoa threw some heat and was really good when pitching ahead in the count. His only base runner was a 2-0 single. Rosso had trouble with the strike zone and was victimized by the Phillies’ first and only error so far. Hernandez got a strikeout with his curveball (a hanger that caught the top of the strike zone. He only threw 3 curves out of 12 pitches. The other 9 were fastballs 88-91. David Paulino filled up the strike zone with FB and CU, missing with 4 of his 5 CB.
The Phillies tied the game in the first on Knapp’s 2-run double. It probably should have been caught, the left fielder seemed to lose it in the sun, it landed on the warning track, and bounded into the terrace. McCutchen reached on a single and walk. Segura scorched a couple balls to left, one a double down the LF line. Quinn singled and later walked and scored on Joyce’s HR out toward route 19. And our young guys had some good at bats. Duran doubled to center and singled to left. Stott had a hard single. Ortiz, O’Hoppe, and Williams all worked walks, laying off pitches that were meant to be chased (especially Ortiz). Rojas’ speed beat out a Taylor-made double play. (Yeah, when I was young, I thought they meant Tony Taylor, not a tailor.) Even Garcia looked good in his at bat until he was frozen by a hanging curve that dropped into the top of the strike zone.
Joyce made a great diving catch in the third and doubled a runner off first. Then homered in the bottom half of the inning.
Monday. Their second loss. Wheeler was okay. Bohm made a great charge, bare-hand, and throw on a soft chop off Vlad’s bat to help end a first inning jam. He was better in the second logging 2 Ks after a leadoff walk. Medina was very good, retiring the side on 7 pitches (6 strikes). One, George Springer’s routine grounder to Bohm and another a sharp line drive to Herrera. Falter gave up a leadoff HR on a 1-2 pitch that he got a little less in than he wanted. He followed that with strikeouts of Vlad and Biggio. Joe eventually rolled the inning after another run scored. Damon Jones worked around a leadoff walk. (Note: I thought that Wheeler, Falter, and Jones were getting squeezed a little.) Sanchez gave up a double on an 0-1 pitch and avoided the strike zone like he owed it money (Sorry, if you saw me use that on twitter, I liked it). He only threw 3 more strikes as he forced in two runs. Joe rolled the inning without recording an out.
Darick Hall provided the offense with a 2-run double that landed on the warning track in RCF. Herrera had lined a single to right and Chatham had walked to set the stage for Hall. Haseley singled later in the inning and aggressively took second when Dusty held Hall at third and the throw went through to the plate.
Bohm had a busy day at third and made all the plays, both the difficult and the routine. We will never confuse him with Mike Schmidt or Brooks Robinson, but his hard work has paid off. He’s making plays that a lot probably thought he couldn’t make. Because of his size, he’ll probably always be (or look) a half-step slow. And, sometimes it seems like he takes an extra beat to unwind and throw to first. But, I still think that he’s good enough to provide average defense as his floor.
There was a ball hit hard down the line to start the bottom of the sixth when you would expect a “no doubles defense”. I wonder why that would not have been deployed in a tie game in the bottom of the last inning. Joe?
Oh, and if you did see Monday’s game on TV, did you notice all the people without masks? A conservative estimate would be 70% not wearing masks. I also learned after the game that most of the ushers refused to police the situation. They are mostly imports from up north. By contrast, almost all fans wore masks in Dunedin. Most of those who didn’t were wearing Phillies garb. But, that would be expected since the fan base for Blue Jays’ games is from Canada, a country that won’t let Americans enter. If you are reading this and are attending games in Florida, “WEAR YOUR MASK!”.