NEW YORK — Before the fourth inning ended Tuesday night, every Phillies hitter had scored a run against Mets ace Jacob deGrom. Only one ball had cleared the fence at Citi Field, and it was hit by the pitcher, Ben Lively. The clobbering was rapid and relentless.
“It’s nice to see a lot of young guys in the lineup,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “Every little bit helps. It gives everybody a little spurt of energy going down the stretch.”
This 9-1 Phillies’ win was just another game, No. 138 to be exact, against another team reduced to September silver linings. Maybe it felt a little different. For one, deGrom had started 10 games against the Phillies before Tuesday and New York had won all 10 of them. He surrendered a career-high nine runs this time.
The barrage was conspicuous for its completeness. Rhys Hoskins reached base four times. Odubel Herrera extended his hitting streak to 19 games, the longest for a Phillies hitter since 2007. Nick Williams cracked a bases-clearing double. Freddy Galvis singled three times. So did Jorge Alfaro. J.P. Crawford singled and scored a run in his debut.
Then, there was Lively, a pitcher who can hit. He slashed a two-run single to center in the second inning. He drilled a two-run homer into the Phillies bullpen in the fourth inning. The rookie has eight RBIs this season, the most for a Phillies pitcher since Randy Wolf in 2004.
“He crushes the ball whenever he hits it,” Alfaro said.
“I still laugh about not having a hit in triple A,” Lively said. “It’s pretty funny.”
He thrived in his real job, with seven innings of one-run ball. Lively and Alfaro watched Monday’s game together while in the dugout. They traded ideas on how to approach the Mets lineup before Tuesday’s game during a video session. The rookies wanted to attack the hitters inside.
“We made a plan and we stuck with it,” Alfaro said.
The Phillies’ lineup looks more imposing when Hoskins is surrounded by Herrera and Williams. When Aaron Altherr returns, perhaps sometime this weekend, he would add another middle-of-the-order piece.
This version showed patience. The Phillies bled deGrom for 47 pitches in the first two innings. Alfaro had an eight-pitch at-bat that resulted in a groundout just ahead of Lively’s two-run single.
The Phillies still rank near the bottom of baseball in most offensive categories. But they have seen growth — the team’s .314 on-base percentage would be its highest since 2012. The last four seasons have produced these on-base percentages: .301, .303, .302, .306.
They have three different players with on-base streaks of 16 games or more: Herrera (19), Hoskins (19) and Cesar Hernandez (16). That is a start.
“We just went out there and tried to win the game like we did in triple A or double A,” Alfaro said. “Since I’ve been with the Phillies, that’s what I see. All the time. Guys just go out there and compete.”
Mackanin was not sure whether the Phillies will add more call-ups later this month. Triple-A Lehigh Valley begins its postseason Wednesday, with a best-of-five series against Scranton. … Crawford became the 14th different Phillies player to make his major-league debut in 2017. That figure trails only Cincinnati (15). … Catcher Cameron Rupp was named the team’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, the league’s highest community service honor. … Nick Pivetta will start Wednesday against an Mets pitcher to be named. “I don’t have the faintest idea,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, after he nixed a plan to start Matt Harvey on short rest. Rain is expected throughout the day and night.
Published at Wed, 06 Sep 2017 10:32:33 +0000