The Philadelphia Phillies hosted the New York Yankees for the first time since the 2009 World Series and the Evil Empire showed up in droves. Blue pinstripes flooded into Citizens Bank Park and the Yankee chants rivaled the hometown Phillies chants. Two mistakes from Vince Velasquez would ultimately cost the Phillies as they fell to New York 4-2 Monday night.
Vince Velasquez looked good last night. Allowing two runs and seven baserunners (three hits and four walks) over six innings while striking out seven isn’t bad. It just wasn’t nearly good enough to match the Yankees’ rookie starter, Jonathan Loaisiga. Loaisiga only pitched 5.1 innings, but he struck out eight Phillies, allowed zero runs, and only three baserunners (1 hit and two walks). The only hit he did allow was in the sixth inning to Jorge Alfaro and he walked the next batter, Aaron Altherr. Cesar Hernandez moved the two into scoring position and the Yankees knew it was time to bring in the big guns. First David Robertson shut down Rhys Hoskins and Obudel Herrera to end the sixth. The seventh saw Robertson slip and let up a run, but Delin Betances cleaned things up. A similar story in the eighth, Betances slips up but gets two outs and here comes the next pitcher: closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman, like the rest of the Yankees’ pitching, looked dominant and only had one slip up, a home run from Maikel Franco in the ninth inning, but at that point, the win was all but official.
Can’t really be upset with Vince’s night. The two mistakes I mentioned at the top of the blog were a wild pitch in the second that moved Greg Bird into scoring position only to be immediately knocked in by Gleybar Torres. The other mistake was a low-flying laser home run from Aaron Judge. To be fair, even if Bird isn’t moved over via wild pitch and only gets to third base on Torres’ double, the next batter, Austin Romine, hit a ball deep enough into center field for to move from second to third so Bird would have scored anyway. You could argue the wild pitch shook Vince’s confidence and the pitch that was doubled may not happen, but Gleybar is still a solid hitter. Judge’s homer you can’t be too upset about either. While Velasquez left a curveball right over the plate, Judge could have easily hooked that ball foul. It takes a lot of skill to keep your hands through the zone to not hook it and Judge showed he has that type of sophistication in only his second year.
Offensively though, is a different story. The Phils didn’t get a baserunner on until the fifth inning and didn’t get a base hit until the sixth. Nothing against Loaisiga, he looked great, but the Phillies had done such a great job over the previous week and a half of getting on base early and capitalizing. The Phils have been alright when playing from behind, but against the solid back-end of the Yankees’ bullpen, the Phils need to get things going quick in both of the next two games.
Game two of this series is Tuesday night at 7:05 ET. Jake Arrieta (5-5) will take on Luis Severino (11-2). Let’s see how the Phils respond against a quality starter.
- There were a lot of Yankee fans there last night. It was the first game since Opening Day against the Marlins that the announced attendance was above 40,000. The Yankee chants rivaled the Phillies chants and even overtook the Phillies fans’ chanting at times, especially after Judge’s homer. We’ve seen this before with the Mets, but the Yankees are more popular and New York isn’t that far.
- On a similar note, Aaron Judge played catch with a young Yankee fan in right field before the bottom of the fifth, right after he hit his homer. A very classy move from Judge here and he had already spent a good amount of the final pregame moments signing autographs. Can’t argue that’s it is great to see a 26-year-old superstar already “getting it” after quickly vaulting himself into superstardom.
- I didn’t mention it in the post, but Hector Neris returned to the Phillies after a week with the Iron Pigs. Neris actually pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning and it was Adam Morgan who screwed the pooch for the Phils. Morgan couldn’t manage to get an out in the eighth inning and was responsible for the Yanks’ third and fourth runs which were ultimately the difference makers. I’m not going count on Neris to continue to deliver us 1-2-3 innings but it’s at least encouraging. Morgan needs to figure out something if the Phils are going to keep relying on him as the first lefty out of the bullpen.