It is time for some Monday morning quarterback or in this case Monday morning center field. Tuesday night’s game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox featured a questionable decision made by Gabe Kapler and it may have cost the Phillies the chance at victory.
The Phillies were batting in the bottom of the 6th when the pitcher’s spot was due up. Nick Pivetta had the best offense in the league on the ropes. The Red Sox had only three hits and one run on the board as the game was tied 1-1. Nick was cruising and he had only thrown 84 pitches so he most likely had at least one inning left possibly two more. Gabe Kapler pulled Nick Pivetta for a pinch hitter and his decision did not produce. Roman Quinn flied out for the first out of the inning and the Phillies went down in order in the 6th.
Now while Nick Pivetta’s at-bat would probably have resulted in an out, it would have been a smarter move for Kapler and his coaches to let Nick pitch at least into the 7th inning. Boston’s offense was being held in check and Pivetta was having one of the best games of his career. Obviously, by pitch hitting the pitcher spot the Phillies had to call their bullpen one inning earlier than expected which was a mistake.
Pat Neshek was called on for the 7th and did not give up a hit but it was the 8th inning which was the demise for the Phillies. Tommy Hunter was called on and gave up a solo home run to pitch hitter Brock Holt. This solo homer gave the Red Sox the lead 2-1 and ultimately gave the Red Sox the victory. Now while Boston was successful with this baseball move, this might be an indication that the Red Sox just have a better bench or maybe the Red Sox have a better bullpen who was able to shut down the Phillies in the 8th and 9th innings.
Small moves like this make or break games for teams and such is life in baseball. However, deep in a pennant race in the middle of August there is no doubt that Nick Pivetta should have been left in the game to pitch in the top of the 7th. Sure it was the middle of August but the humid weather was not a huge factor in Kapler’s decision as it wasn’t a typical mid 90’s day. The early rain should have cooled off the field, as well as the players and it seemed as though Nick had the energy left to pitch some more. This is a game that the Phillies desperately needed as Atlanta has taken over first place in the NL East. Another decision made by Gabe Kapler that backfired for a young team hungry for a victory. This might be one game that could be looked at as a reason why the Phillies don’t make it to the post season.
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