From Monday, April 9 to Wednesday, April 11, the Phillies (now 6-5) faced off against the Cincinnati Reds (now 2-9) in their second homestand of the 2018 season. The Phils ended up sweeping the Reds in 3 games and right now are one of the hottest teams in the National League. Let’s recap all scoring and pitching from the series:
On Monday SP Ben Lively (0-1 / 3.18 ERA) got the start against Cody Reed (0-0 / 0.00 ERA) and he looked shaky early. After giving up 3 straight singles to start the game, the Reds were threatening with the bases loaded and 0 outs. Lively proceeded to walk LF Adam Duvall, sending in the first run of the game. Lively ended up escaping the jam, retiring the next 3 batters to keep the Phillies down 1-0.
The Phillies bats responded right away, with LF Rhys Hoskins hitting 2-run home run to left-center field in the 1st after Carlos Santana reached first on an error.
In the bottom half of the 2nd, rookie SS Scott Kingery hit his first major league home run to give the Phils a 3-1 lead.
in the top of the 3rd, Lively surrendered a 2-run home run to C Tucker Barnhart to tie the game at 3.
The Phillies once again responded in the bottom half with 2 runs of their own. After a leadoff Cesar Hernandez single, 1B Carlos Santana doubled Hernandez home for a 4-3 lead. The Phils tacked on another run when 3B Maikel Franco sent Santana home on a sac fly to centerfield.
Lively once more surrendered a run in the top of the 4th, with 2B Scooter Gennett hitting an RBI double to left-center, bringing home speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton from first.
The Reds tied the game at 5 in the 6th with Billy Hamilton reaching on an infield single to score RF Phil Ervin. Manager Gabe Kapler then decided to pull Lively (5.2 IP / 9 H / 5 ER / 7 K) and call in RP Adam Morgan (0-0 / 6.23 ERA). Morgan did his job and kept the Phillies unscathed to end the inning.
With the game tied at 5 in the bottom of the 8th, pinch-hitter Nick Williams smashed a 2-out deep home run to right-center field to put the Phils up 6-5. Before then, Williams was batting a lowly .188 average, so this was a bold move by Kapler to put Williams at the plate, but it paid off.
CP Hector Neris (0-1 / 10.12 ERA) entered the game in the 9th and got his first save of the season to give the Phillies (4-5) a 6-5 win to start the series. RP Luis Garcia got the win (1-1) and Reds RP Kevin Quackenbush was credited with the loss (0-1).
On Tuesday night, SP Aaron Nola (0-0 / 2.61 ERA) took the ball against Reds starter Homer Bailey (0-2 / 4.22 ERA).
Things were relatively quiet until the top of the 5th when Nola walked OF Billy Hamilton. Hamilton promptly stole second, and RF Jesse Winker singled Hamilton home, putting Cincinnati on the board 1-0. That would end up being Nola’s only earned run of the game.
The Phillies evened things up in the bottom of the 6th from the bat of OF Odubel Herrera doubling in 2B Cesar Hernandez, who also singled and stole second base before then. Bailey, who recorded a no-hitter in 2013, had a no-hitter through 5 before Hernandez’s single.
The Phillies broke the tie at 1 in the next inning when SS J.P. Crawford recorded an RBI single off of RP Jared Hughes (0-0 / 2.08 ERA) bringing in RF Nick Williams, who got on with a leadoff double.
Nola had a phenomenal outing (8 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 6 K) off of 103 pitches, 70 of them strikes. This outing brought his season’s ERA to 1.96, giving Nola the start to the 2018 season the Phillies more than needed.
The Phillies padded their lead in the bottom half of the 8th with a Scott Kingery grand slam to make it 6-1. That was Kingery’s second big fly of the season, the first coming in the previous night on Reds SP Cody Reed. The 4-run 8th inning came at the hands of rookie RP Tanner Rainey, making his first major league appearance.
P Hoby Milner (0-0 / 6.75 ERA) handled things in the 9th, giving the Phils (5-5) the 6-1 win and the opportunity to sweep on Wednesday night. Nola notched his first win of 2018 (1-0) and Hughes received the loss (0-1).
On Wednesday’s series finale, SP Nick Pivetta (1-0 / 2.79 ERA) took the mound against Reds SP Luis Castillo (0-2 / 9.00 ERA), with the Phils looking for their first series sweep since September 14, 2017.
The Phillies struck first with a J.P. Crawford 2-run homer with Nick Pivetta on second. The home run was Crawford’s first of the season and it was a blast, reaching the second deck.
The Reds tied things up in the 4th, with an RBI single from All-Star 1B and 2017 MVP candidate Joey Votto. Votto later scored that inning from a groundout by RF Phil Ervin.
Philadelphia broke the tie again in the bottom of the 5th, as Cesar Hernandez belted solo home run to the second deck in right field.
Pivetta was pulled after 7 superb innings (5 H / 2 ER / 7 K). He displayed amazing command (0 BB / 103 pitches / 72 strikes) to continue his unexpectedly great start to the season.
In the top of the 9th, up 3-2, CP Hector Neris blew his save opportunity and let the Reds tie things up. The inning started with a leadoff double from 2B Scooter Gennett and a pinch-hit single from Alex Blandino. With runners on the corners and no outs, Phil Ervin hit an RBI single to centerfield to even the game late at 3-3. Neris got the Phillies out of the jam to send things to extras.
The Phillies had many opportunities to score in extras but they finally did it in the bottom of the 12th against reliever Austin Brice (0-0 / 5.40 ERA). Scott Kingery knocked in substitute Pedro Florimon on a sac fly to deep right field to walk things off at Citizens Bank Park for a 4-3 Phillies win. RP Yacksel Rios earned the win (1-0) and Brice got the loss (0-1). The Phillies improved to (6-5) and look to keep things rolling on the upcoming roadtrip.
Best Batting Performance: Scott Kingery (SS, 3B, LF): 2 HR 6 RBI .250 BA / .286 OBP / .750 SLG. Kingery slugged his first career home run on Monday, clobbered a grand slam to seal the game on Tuesday, and hit the game-winning sac fly on Wednesday. Kingery is showing great potential for the Phils, and the fans already love the guy. It doesn’t hurt that 2008 World Series manager Charlie Manuel compares his play to Phillies all-timer Chase Utley.
Best Pitching Performance: Aaron Nola (SP): 1 GS / 8.0 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 6 K / 3 BB / 103 P / 70 STR. Nola looked virtually unhittable Tuesday night. His only flaw was his walks. He walked Billy Hamilton in the 5th, and he ended up scoring later that inning. Other than that he kept hitters at bay, and forced 10 groundouts. He has the potential to be an All Star this season and many more to come if he continues what he’s doing.
Looking Ahead: The Phillies are red hot. They’ve won 5 of the last 6, the second-best record in the NL within that span of games behind the Mets, winners of 8 in a row and 10 of 11 overall. They head to Tampa Bay to begin a 3-game series with the Rays (3-9) on Friday, April 13th. Expect at least a series win from the Phils or possibly even a sweep because the Phillies rank 3rd in the NL in runs while the Rays rank 12th in the AL in total ERA. Look for them to expose the Rays’ lack of efficiency on the mound in the coming
By: Kevin Isdell
*All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com as of April 9th, 2018