The Phillies run at the worst record in baseball, and the accompanying top pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft, took another hit this afternoon when the team shutout the NL East champion New York Mets by a 3-0 score at Citizens Bank Park.
The victory, which gave the Phillies a sweep of the 3-game series, gives the club four consecutive wins, and 5 wins in their last 6 games. It marks the first time that the team has won 4 straight since they took 5 in a row towards the end of July during their one hot stretch of the season, one that saw the Phils take 15 of 20 games immediately following the MLB All-Star break.
The Phillies would now need to be swept at home this weekend against Miami in order to lose 100 games in a season for the first time since 1961. The win also combined with a loss by the Cincinnati Reds to leave the Phils just a game up on Cincy in that “race” for the bottom of the MLB standings.
To some, that might seem like a good thing, not finishing as the worst team in baseball. Some kind of moral victory. But in a season where they have occupied that position almost the entire year, it would be just one more failure. The Phillies hold a tie-breaker with the Reds by virtue of having lost 4 of the 6 meetings between the two teams this season.
In today’s contest, moved from it’s originally scheduled 7:05pm start time up to a 12:05pm start due to heavy rains expected as Hurricane Joaquin approaches off the US east coast this weekend, the Phils received yet another in a string of strong starting pitching efforts from Jerad Eickhoff.
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Eickhoff went 7 innings, pushing him past the 50-innings pitched mark for the season, which means that the 25-year old has officially used up his MLB rookie eligibility. However, what really matters is that Eickhoff continued to show that he looks like the steal of the Cole Hamels trade with Texas.
The righty allowed just 4 hits and a walk while striking out 10 batters, making him the first Phillies rookie since Hamels to record consecutive double-digit strikeout outings. He is also the first Phils’ pitcher since Brett Myers a decade ago to record consecutive starts of double-digit strikeouts and 0-1 walk. He is the only NL rookie pitcher this season to go at least 7 innings while allowing 2 or fewer earned runs over 4 consecutive starts.
The Phillies’ bats broke a scoreless tie in the home 4th, scoring a pair off Mets’ starter Sean Gilmartin. With two outs, Jeff Francoeur doubled, and he was followed by a towering 2-run homer off the bat of Darin Ruf, his 12th of the season.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Phillies got an insurance run when Andres Blanco led off with a solo home run, his 7th of the season, to make up that final 3-0 score.
This sudden burst of winning sets up some drama for the final weekend at home. In what would have been a meaningless 3-game series with the Miami Marlins, the Phils now find themselves leading the Reds by just a game, with both teams having 3 remaining. It’s something to play, and lose, for in a lost season.