Pete Mackanin arrived Monday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park and did not know if his shortstop for the first 80 games could start the 81st one. It was about 1 p.m. Someone relayed a message to Mackanin in his office. The baby was born at 5:53 a.m., and her name was Nicole. Mother and daughter were fine.
Oh, and Freddy Galvis said one more thing.
“He might be a little late,” the messenger told Mackanin, “but he’s playing tonight.”
Galvis swung at the first pitch he saw in a 4-0 Phillies win over the Pirates. He attacked a fastball on three hours’ sleep with a hospital band still attached to his right wrist. The ball floated over the right-field wall and into the seats for a quick two-run lead and enough support for dominant Aaron Nola. It was 7:21 p.m.
“Everything is good, man,” Galvis said later. “It was a good day.”
He had a sore right ankle that needed to be checked. He had family to help back at the hospital. But Galvis, who has played shortstop for all but six innings of the Phillies’ season, knew where he belonged.
“That’s incredible,” Nola said. “The guy is unbelievable, man. I wouldn’t want anybody to be at shortstop other than that guy. He’s been great for us. He’s our leader. That was pretty cool to see tonight, what he did.”
Nola did his part. The righthander did not permit a hit until the fifth inning. A Pirates runner did not reach third base until the seventh inning because of a lazy fly ball that fell between three Phillies defenders. Nola struck out eight. He walked one.
He leaned on his fastball and curveball, then mixed a change-up with exceptional bite. He fired first-pitch strikes to 20 of the 27 batters he faced.
“Nola was outstanding,” Mackanin said. “He’s had several good outings now. I think he’s turned the corner. He’s really pitching the way he’s capable of. It’s good to see.”
He lowered his ERA to 3.73 with Monday’s outing. Nola, in his last three starts, has surrendered three runs over 21 1/3 innings. He has struck out 35 and walked eight in that span.
For much of the last calendar year, Nola had fretted about injuries to his elbow and back. Now, without those hindrances, he can focus on the little things.
“If I can stay healthy,” Nola said, “I can work on the things I need to work on and try to repeat all of the things I need to repeat.”
Nola fought Pirates pinch-hitter John Jaso for eight pitches in the seventh inning. There were runners on the corners. Jaso fouled a full-count curveball. Nola countered with a high fastball. Jaso tipped that one, too.
So the righthander turned to his third pitch. The Phillies trust Nola because they believe he has a strong aptitude for pitching. Nola threw Jaso a change-up outside. Jaso whiffed.
That was a moment of maturation for Nola.
Galvis, 27, has grown up in red pinstripes. While the Phillies took batting practice Monday, a message on the scoreboard congratulated Galvis and his wife, Ana. It showed a photo of Galvis cradling his newborn, all 7 pounds and 19 inches.
More than a week ago, Galvis decided he would miss the birth of his second daughter. Ana was due with the Phillies on the West Coast. Galvis told Mackanin not to worry. Then, Nicole waited and waited to enter the world. The Phillies bused home Sunday night from New York, and Galvis joined his family at a Philadelphia hospital.
“He’s just a gamer,” Mackanin said.
Galvis’ on-base percentage is .300, below the league average, and his future here is uncertain because J.P. Crawford is a regarded shortstop prospect at triple A. Whatever. Galvis will never forget Monday.
“When we win,” Galvis said, “I’m not tired.”
Published at Tue, 04 Jul 2017 03:28:48 +0000