There were lots of story-lines permeating tonight’s Phillies-Cubs game.
Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta was dominant, allowing only 2 hits, 1 walk, and no runs in his 7.0 innings of work, while racking up 9 strikeouts. Phillies’ starter Roberto Hernandez and manager Ryne Sandberg were thrown out of the game on a ludicrous, attention-seeking call by the home plate umpire.
The best, however? Jimmy Rollins‘ 9th inning double, juuuust left of the right field foul pole. This hit was his 2,234th – a number which temporarily ties him with Mike Schmidt as the Phillies’ all-time hits leaders. Schmidt was in attendance, but will likely be a larger presence during the remainder of the series – once Rollins finally breaks the record.
It’s a moment that’s been expected for months, and it really should be appreciated anytime a player approaches a franchise record in any of the major counting stat categories. Despite the age of sabermetrics we live in valuing rates, and raw numbers being considered limited in evaluative quality, durability is often overlooked in a value of a player.
Additionally, it has become increasingly rare to see a player spend 15+ seasons with a single team (despite how it may not feel that way as a Phillies fan). To have a player like that maintaining a high quality of play for that stretch? That’s something incredibly special, and before everyone gets sell-crazy in the coming weeks, appreciate this now.
Look for infinitely more discussions like this in a day or so when Rollins actually breaks the record – for now though, the game.
The offense resumed play in the 9th down 2-0, with Rollins hitting his double, Marlon Byrd walking, and Domonic Brown singling in the Phillies’ lone run.
The pitching side had a fascinating night, and in total, was very strong. Roberto Hernandez had a not-unusual line of 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 5 K. He didn’t have his control tonight, and had one HBP, against Starlin Castro, in the top of the 6th. More on that in a second.
The bullpen followed with a sparkling 3.1 IP, with 5 K, 1 H, and 0 BB. Mario Hollands, Antonio Bastardo, and Justin De Fratus all get credit here. The three pounded the strike zone, didn’t allow a single fly ball, and continued the recent trend of success by the bullpen.
The curious part about the pitching tonight was not the starting pitching, or the relief pitching. It was what happened to cause the transition. That little hit-by-pitch from Hernandez to Castro turned into something it shouldn’t have.
Castro had hit a HR earlier in the game against Fausto, home plate umpire Mark Ripperger interpreted the HBP as a retaliatory effort, and both Hernandez and Ryne Sandberg were tossed from the game without warning.
The problem is, Hernandez clearly never meant to hit Castro. It was in the middle of a close game, the two are reportedly friends, and the look on his face after realizing what happened was that of a small child breaking something expensive in a department store.
The Cubs clubhouse didn’t believe it to be an intentional act, the Phillies clubhouse CERTAINLY didn’t believe it to be an intentional act, and there had been no warning from the umpire to that point, so ejections were unwarranted on all fronts.
Regardless, it would be wrong to blame this incident for the Phillies’ loss.
The bullpen kept things clean afterwards. The offense just provided too little, too late.