On a day where a sweep seemed inevitable through 8 ⅔ innings, the Phillies salvaged a series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 6-5 win.
Here are four takeaways from the game and home stand as a whole:
1. I need to see more
First off, hats off to the Phillies, they went down 5-0 against a team they had already lost a series to on getaway day. Their backs were up against the wall, down to their final strike in the 9th and they rallied. Trea Turner finally has a signature moment as a Phillie and it came immediately after what has to be one of the worst at-bats of his entire baseball life. It would’ve been very easy to just roll over, get swept and get the hell out of town. Even the most optimistic fans at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday couldn’t have actually believed the Phillies were pulling out a win until it was physically tied in the 9th. It was likely the win of the year.
That’s all fine and dandy, but we as a fanbase can’t do the “this team is back” thing every time they win two games or they mount a comeback win. Not now, not while they’re still three games below .500. This win won’t feel like it means a whole lot if they lose three of four in Atlanta or two of three in New York. It’s one win. It was a good and fun win. Pardon me for not jumping for joy following a 3-3 home stand against the Cubs and Diamondbacks.
2. Turner gets it
Larry Andersen said it best, Trea Turner was due in the absolute worst way. It’s weird to say, but Turner probably needed a moment like that for himself more than even the Phillies needed a win as a team on Wednesday.
The way he handled himself postgame I believe to be noteworthy. Here’s a guy who’s still new to the city and really heard it from the hometown fans this week. With a lucrative contract comes lofty expectations and he hasn’t lived up to any of it through 49 games.
Turner hasn’t made excuses, he hasn’t pointed the finger or called out the fans for getting on him. He knows he’s struggled and needs to be way better. He took an opportunity after he was the hero to be appropriately self-deprecating and make a joke about his mom booing her own son. Forget the unruly fans of Philadelphia who have yet to experience the All Star success Turner has enjoyed elsewhere, once your own mother boos you and you can laugh at it, it puts everything into perspective.
3. Suarez is concerning
Lost in the late-inning excitement was Ranger Suraez, who allowed the five runs that built the lofty Phillies deficit to begin with. The five innings he threw on Wednesday are the most he’s thrown all season, his ERA is 9.82. Thomson assured the media post game that there’s no lingering injury concern, despite elbow inflammation keeping him on the Injured List until May 14th. The Phillies need Suarez to return to form in the worst way, they need any of their starters to return to form in the worst way. His next scheduled start is Tuesday at Citi Field, let’s hope he can get his ERA below 9 in that one.
4. The pitch clock is great, but discretion is needed
This game took 3.5 hours, a rarity in the pitch clock era. Without it, who knows? A game with a 1:05 first pitch might’ve needed lights to complete it. On the whole, the pitch clock has been a huge win for baseball. Some much of the time spent in between pitches was complete nonsense that had been taken straight out of the game.
All that to say it hasn’t come without its issue. Standing ovations require special permission, Bryce Harper must race to put a brace on his arm and then you have what took place on Wednesday in the 10th inning. By rule, the hitter must be alert and ready by the 8-second mark. Rojas appears to wait until the absolute last second to call timeout and then gets lectured by Junior Valentine, the home plate umpire. All of this to the dismay of Arizona manager, Torey Lovullo, even though the punishment of strike three was not ultimately enforced.
The insanity really begins when Kimbrel is punished with ball one for coming set too early, as pitches are now required to allow hitters to get ready inside the batters box first. As you can see, Thomson was not happy and clarified postgame that his argument was that Kimbrel had zero way of knowing Rojas wasn’t in the batters box yet, as it was the 10th inning and the existence of white batters box lines at that point was next to nothing.
Obviously, these new pitch clock rules were a huge point of emphasis with all of the umpires prior to the start of the season and we’ve seen very little leeway given in almost any circumstance. At this point, some kind of umpires discretion rule stipulation or umpires memo is needed, or else the umpires will continue stealing the show in big moments just like they did on Wednesday. Also, shout out to Scott Franzke for the sarcastic “meanwhile, we do not want Harper to get ten seconds to put his elbow guard on” comment, truly on the mark.
Dan Wilson is a producer for 94 WIP and a contributor for 94WIP.com. You can follow Dan on Twitter @dan_wilson4.
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