Phillies: Ranger Suárez’s first start saved by a praying mantis

Aug 2, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Ranger Suarez (55) throws the ball against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Ranger Suarez (55) throws the ball against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies are the latest MLB team to win after a praying mantis entered the game

The Philadelphia Phillies were looking like they were going to lose yet another close game in frustrating fashion on Monday night in Washington DC.

To make it even more frustrating, it was Ranger Suárez‘s first start since 2018, and he had thrown three innings of scoreless magic. He struck out one, walked one, and didn’t allow a hit, a welcome change from the short-appearance starters the Phillies have had to use for a majority of the season. Oh, and he did all of this on 33 pitches and faced the minimum.

Of course, Suárez and his now-1.04 ERA shifting to the rotation means that the bullpen is now even worse. Enyel De Los Santos gave up a game-tying homer in the sixth, but the Phillies scored again in the top of the seventh. Then, Jose Alvarado came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh and gave up two hits, two walks, and two earned runs to make it 3-2.

In the top of the ninth, the Phillies rallied to score five runs, giving them a more comfortable cushion to finish out the game. However, Ian Kennedy, acquired from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline, struggled in his debut over the weekend, and again on Monday night. He gave up a two-run homer to make the game close again in the bottom of the ninth.

The Phillies ultimately prevailed 7-5, but Suárez’s first start since September 30, 2018, wasn’t the biggest story of the win:

For a while in the later innings, the Nationals had two centerfielders: Victor Robles and the praying mantis that perched atop his cap.

At a certain point, Robles realized he had company, and even gave his guest a little game update:

The mantis turned out to be a welcome addition to the game, maybe even the reason the Phillies turned the tables in the ninth?

MLB has a history of praying mantises in ballgames

As crazy as this whole story sounds, this isn’t the first time MLB has stood for Mantis League Baseball. A YouTube channel even compiled some of them back in March.

In August 2015, Giants’ outfielder Juan Perez also found himself with a hitchhiker on his cap. That same year, Adam Jones compared Chris Sale to a praying mantis, saying,

"“I call him the praying mantis. He’s probably the nastiest pitcher in baseball, right-handed or left-handed.”"

In August 2016, Kansas City Royals outfielder Billy Burns also had a mantis land on his cap. When the Royals rallied to beat the Blue Jays and then won again the following day, the legend of Rally Mantis was born.

In September 2017, a mantis went to hang out with Luis Severino, blessing MLB with the opportunity to make this pun:

The Yankees won that game, so there’s clearly something to this Rally Mantis phenomenon.

It was a wild night for baseball, as the Yankees game was interrupted by an adorable cat on the field. Cat incidents happen more often, and are much less scary, considering female praying mantises eat their mates. Thirty years ago, now-White Sox manager Tony La Russa adopted a cat that ran into the home dugout in Oakland and then started ARF, an animal rescue foundation. This isn’t even the first cat on the field of the 2021 season!

If the Phillies haven’t put that mantis in a nice little tank to bring them good luck for the rest of the season, they should.

Next. Phillies fans will love prospect pitcher Hans Crouse for this tweet. dark

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