With the Arizona Diamondbacks taking two out of three from the Washington Nationals, momentum was on the side of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Momentum somewhat caused by an intriguing trade deadline that saw the Diamondbacks return potential and low cost control. However, Bryce Harper and the Phillies came in to Arizona and took one late.
I know I’ve said it already but momentum is the word of the game for me and this recap. Just a week ago, we saw Merrill Kelly start slow but fight through the rough patches to gain control and momentum. With Kelly getting the start tonight, the hope for continued success was short lived.
The first inning was rather easy for Kelly as Cesar Hernandez was the lead off hitter and the only hit of the inning for the Phils, a walk to Rhys Hoskins the next at bat created concern that the Miami Marlins that he faced a week ago were nothing compared to this Phillies lineup, which is a fact. However, Kelly would utilize his mix well and escape the first retiring the next three Phillies. The Diamondbacks offense maintained their momentum and success putting a run on the board in the bottom of the inning. Ketel Marte put a beautiful swing on the ball and legged out a triple. David Peralta did ground out but was able to take the Vince Velasquez 95mph heater and lace it to deep in the glove side hole of the shortstop. Velasquez however, was able to navigate the next two to end the inning.
Granted this is the same Vince Valesquez who was riding a wave of his own. In a game a couple of days earlier, he entered the game as a pinch runner and played left field spectacularly.
As we arrive to the second inning, that momentum I mentioned with Merrill Kelly fluctuated a tiny bit. That tiny bit being a bomb to U of A great Scott Kingery. 92 mph that ran right into the barrel for Scott was a slight misstep that has haunted Kelly all season. However, in similar Merrill Kelly fashion, was able to locate well and retire the side. Velasquez was near perfect in the bottom of the inning as he was able to retire the Diamondbacks in only four batters with Nick Ahmed being the lone hit.
The wheels fell off for Merrill Kelly in the third however, as mistakes were the definition of the inning. Carson Kelly committed a catchers interference which gave Rhys Hosksins the bag at first. A Bryce Harper single was the precursor to a double from J.T. Realmuto. Hoskins was the only Philly to score. Once again, the pitch was 93 and ran right into Realmuto. Yes, the pitch was high but this is the best catcher in baseball were talking about. Jean Segura’s single would be the last of the Phillies runs in the third as Kelly was lucky to escape the inning only giving up two. The bottom of the third would see a retaliation from the Diamondbacks offense as Merrill Kelly helped the cause by drawing a walk. David Peralta kept up his productive night with a double which brought up Eduardo Escobar to continue to raise his career high in RBI’s. Escobar hit a liner that Roman Quin was able to corral but not enough to get the requisite crow hop to make a coherent throw. The throw was up the line and Realmuto made a beautiful throw from the shortened distance to nab Peralta. Once again, momentum created and stopped.
In the fourth, Merrill Kelly continued the rocky performance by giving up a double to standout rookie Adam Haseley. Kelly was able to locate and work his way through, however a ground out from Cesar Hernandez scored Haseley and gave the Phillies the two run lead.
The bottom of the fourth, fifth and sixth inning saw Vince Velasquez of the Phillies and Merrill Kelly ride their stuff into no runs.
Merrill Kelly was taken out of the game in the top of the seventh inning for newly brought up Diamondback Robby Scott. The left hander was brought up alongside Kevin Ginkel as Zack Godley was designated for assignment.
Any type of momentum for Scott was ruined early as the Phillies took advantage of the lefty. Of the three batters faced, two reached with Bryce Harper able to get on by a dinky grounder to Scott. Kevin Ginkel came on to replace him and it did not go horribly but not what you would like to see. Ginkel also faced three batters and only one reached on a single however it would be enough to bring in Cesar Hernandez.
Velasquez continued his dominance as a walk was somewhat sandwiched between a good pitch mix that lead to a fly out, ground out and a line out.
In the eighth, a lead off single from Adam Haseley brought about the end of Kevin Ginkel’s night. T.J. McFarland entered the game as Gabe Kapler and the Phillies used their new toy in Corey Dickerson. However, a throwing error by McFarland during the at bat allowed Haseley to move from first. A Roman Quinn single brought in Haseley however the inning was anything less than efficient. Continuing the downward momentum of McFarland’s season.
In the bottom of the inning, Wilmer Flores was brought in to lead off the inning for McFarland and provided a spark. A double to right allowed Ketel Marte the opportunity to bring him in or at least move him over and that is exactly what happened. David Peralta continued to be one of the few shining players for the Diamondbacks as a single brought in Flores and the only run of the inning, one that had a lot of potential and possibility only to end with a strike out looking and a Tim Locastro fly out.
Negative: Merrill Kelly -17.6% (Pitching) & -11.6% (Offensively), Jake Lamb -14.7%
Positive: Vince Velasquez 19.8%
Greg Holland entered the game and immediately walked Realmuto. A stolen base attempt lead to the Phillies having their lead off hitter at third due to a throwing error from Carson Kelly whose night was not great behind the plate. A wild pitch from Holland scored Realmuto and would be the nail in the coffin for the Diamondbacks.
Jose Alvarez came into the game in the ninth and shut the door. A game ending double play from Carson Kelly officially sealed the deal. The same double play that was captured and is the picture chosen for this recap, for good reason.
Personally, this season has been one game of red light green light. With expectations being lowered from the Paul Goldschmidt trade, the team exceeded those early in a very positive way with the fight for the NL Wild Card. Then news of stadium locations would be toppled by the newest rumors of the team attempting to maximize its leverage with a move to Henderson, Nevada. Let us also not forget the bright spots this team has only to squander them or just have the wheels fall off of the bus. The season is not over but if this team cannot build on momentum gained, then this last month and change will be rougher than expected.