No one in baseball puts out more fires on a nightly basis than the tightrope-walking Phillies, a rollercoaster masquerading as a first-place team. No stranger to late-inning chaos, Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers was more of the same for manager Joe Girardi, who stepped in a disaster of his own making in the seventh inning when, unbeknownst to him, the Phils skipper called on the services of a reliever who wasn’t eligible to pitch.
Enyel De Los Santos was promoted from the Phillies’ alternate site shortly before first pitch Tuesday night, though that addition apparently wasn’t reflected on the lineup card distributed to umpires. So when the Dominican-born hurler was summoned from the pen to begin the seventh inning, the umpiring crew at Citizens Bank Park quickly nixed it. With De Los Santos unavailable, Girardi then pivoted to David Hale, who, based on his complete and utter ineffectiveness (the right-hander didn’t retire any of the three batters he faced, with all three eventually scoring), did not look remotely prepared to pitch. Meanwhile, Cristopher Sanchez, who still appeared on the Phillies’ roster despite being optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier in the day, logged a pair of shutdown innings for the IronPigs in their season-opening win over Rochester Tuesday night in Allentown.
While the mix-up didn’t ultimately cost them the game (the Phillies, buoyed by a pair of Andrew McCutchen home runs, escaped with a 6-5 victory), Girardi was rightfully mortified by the oversight, telling reporters he was “livid” with himself for not being more thorough.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell was willing to cut his Phillies counterpart some slack, claiming the lineup he was given was accurate, though obviously that version never made it into the hands of Tuesday’s umpires. Though the system in place doesn’t seem terribly efficient, it’s on Girardi and the Phillies’ staff to make sure their lineup matches the one submitted by MLB. Obviously, they failed in that regard, though on a more positive note, the 15-15 Phillies have now won two straight, marking the first time that’s happened since their season-opening four-game winning streak.