After a three-game sweep against the lowly Padres of the NL West, the Phillies (28-36) welcomed in the Cubs (27-38), who hold the worst record in all of baseball. The pitching matchup gave us Roberto Hernandez and Jake Arrieta, but that isn’t what took center stage on this night in Philadelphia. Jimmy Rollins, one hit away from tying the all-time franchise record for hits by Mike Schmidt, was aiming at history and also looking to extend the Phillies three-game win streak.
The Game: The Cubs got on the board first in the fourth inning. Roberto Hernandez had gotten out of a jam or two already, but he walked Anthony Rizzo to start the inning. Starlin Castro followed with a two-run home run to left center field off of a 1-1 pitch left up in the zone by Roberto Hernandez. That knock gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
In the sixth inning, Hernandez got Ryan Sweeney to groundout and Anthony Rizzo to fly out, bringing up Starlin Castro, who hit a two-run home run earlier. Hernandez threw a pitch up and in that hit Castro in the hand. Without warning, home plate umpire Mark Ripperger threw Roberto out of the game. In any instance, umpires would warn each bench before even thinking about tossing out a guy after a hit by pitch. Ripperger, normally a Triple-A umpire, has been a Major League fill-in for the past four years so obviously the quick trigger ejection comes as not much of a surprise. Phils skipper Ryne Sandberg immediately argued the call, exclaiming that Hernandez had no intent to hit Castro, and was ejected. Check out the ejections below and you can be the judge, but it looks like nothing more than a power thirsty ump having his day.
In the bottom of the eighth, Carlos Ruiz led things off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Cubs starter, Pedro Strop. With a runner in scoring position with no outs, the Phillies failed to bring in the run. Reid Brignac, Ben Revere and John Mayberry all grounded out to end the inning, keeping the home team off the board for another frame.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate with an 0-for-3 line thus far in the game. That wouldn't last for long.
J-Roll pulled the second pitch of the at-bat down the line in right, just fair off the wall. It bounced passed the right fielder, Schierholtz, and Rollins went into second base standing with hit #2,234, tying Mike Schmidt’s franchise hit record. Whether or not you have been a Jimmy Rollins fan over the years, you have to appreciate what we are witnessing. Rollins made his debut on September 27th, 2000. Here we are, over 13 years past that, watching the Phillies franchise shortstop tie a record that was, by no means, an easy achievement.
Back to the bottom of the ninth for the Phillies. After the Rollins milestone, Chase Utley flew out and Ryan Howard struck out. With two outs, Marlon Byrd worked a walk, setting up runners on the corners for Domonic Brown. The Phils left fielder snuck a single through the hole at second base, good enough to score Rollins and get Byrd to third, cutting the lead in half, 2-1. Unfortunately, Carlos Ruiz struck out looking on a pitch that looked outside, sealing the Phillies fate.
Notable offensive statistics:
Jimmy Rollins: 1-4, 2B, R – Tied Mike Schmidt’s all-time Phillies franchise record in hits in the ninth.
Domonic Brown: 2-4, 2B, RBI
Impact: This loss shows that when you sweep the Padres, you have swept…the Padres. Obviously, the Phils ran into a hot arm in Jake Arrieta, but carried no momentum from their sweep into this one. They were an abominable 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position as well. You can’t fault Roberto Hernandez in this one, as it looked like he took a step forward from his previous starts that were awful. The bullpen looked phenomenal tonight. Antonio Bastardo pitched two shutout innings and struck out three while righty Justin De Fratus threw another shutout inning in the ninth. In nine appearances since rejoining the Phillies late last month, he has tossed 10 innings, giving up no earned runs and scattering six hits. De Fratus has walked just one hitter and put down 10 via the strikeout.
Up Next: The Phillies and Cubs continue their series on Saturday afternoon at 3:05pm. David Buchanan (1-3, 6.08) will sqaure off against veteran right-hander, Edwin Jackson (4-6, 4.70). Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins will look to break the all-time franchise record in hits after tying Schmidt tonight in the ninth.
Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia.com