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17 Jun 2024

Takeaways from Phillies/Orioles series in Baltimore

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June 17, 2024 Category: Sports Posted by:

Philadelphia Phillies players greet each other after defeating the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 in a baseball game, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

By Chris Murray
For the Philadelphia Sunday SUN

BALTIMORE— After winning a stirring extra-inning game in Friday’s opening game of the Philadelphia Phillies series with the Baltimore Orioles, the Phillies lost the last two games because they couldn’t contain in the Orioles offense.

On Saturday, the Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first two innings but couldn’t contain an Orioles team that scored six unanswered runs, including a pair of home runs from Baltimore right-fielder Anthony Santander as the O’s came away with 6-2 win.

In Sunday’s series finale, the Phillies inability to stop the Orioles offense was exacerbated by a series of questionable calls by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook that led to Phillies manager Rob Thompson being tossed from the game.

The Orioles’ 8-3 win in front of a sell-out crowd of 45, 425 at Camden Yards was the result of Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler uncharacteristically giving up four home runs.

For the game, Wheeler, who came into the game with a 2.15 earned average, allowed eight runs and nine hits. The Phillies’ Cy Young candidate just didn’t have it on Sunday. He did a poor job of locating his pitches.

Wheeler said those four home runs came as a result of pitches coming straight across the middle of the plate.

“I felt like we were throwing too many fastballs. I have to locate them …When you aren’t locating it, that’s the kind of stuff that’s going to happen,” he said after the game. “What’s frustrating about it is that I felt good on my (velocity). It was just one of those days. It stinks, but you gotta give people credit sometimes.”

One of those home runs shouldn’t have been a home run at all. On a 2-2 pitch to Orioles leadoff hitter Gunnar Henderson, television replay showed that the ball appeared to be in the strike zone, but Estabrook called it a ball.

“It was a borderline pitch. I felt like maybe it was a strike, but sometimes umpires are going to miss calls, so that’s going to happen,” Wheeler said. “That’s the way the ball is going to roll sometimes. You can’t worry about it, put your head down and keep going. It was one of those days where it was frustrating, but that’s going to happen throughout the year.”

Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs claimed it was a strike because the “home plate flinched, but didn’t call it a strike.”

With the Phillies trailing 8-2 in the sixth inning, Stubbs was hit in the back of his foot by Orioles starting pitcher Corbin Burnes. Initially, Stubbs was awarded first base by Estabrook.

The Orioles appealed to third base umpire Laz Diaz and second base umpire Charlie Ramos that Stubbs foot was out of the batter’s box, and it was overturned without replay. Phillies manager Rob Thomson got into a heated argument with Estabrook and was ejected from the game.

“(Estabrook) has awarded Stubbs first base. (Orioles manager) Brandon Hyde comes out, the base umpires said they couldn’t see that the ball hit Stubbs’s foot,” Thomson said. “I asked you’re telling me that from 200 or 130 you can tell whether a ball hits a foot or not. (Umpires) said use your challenge, but you already awarded him first place let (the Orioles) use their challenge …I couldn’t quite understand that.”

Stubbs told reporters after the game that he was hit by the pitch and that he was awarded first base by the home-plate umpire.

“I have problem with the fact they took back hit by pitch after granting me first base and then we have to challenge it,” Stubbs said. “(Thomson) wanted to challenge it and (Diaz) said to challenge it, but Estabrook said we couldn’t challenge it.”

While that particular play didn’t have a bearing on the outcome of the game. It just symbolized a frustrating day for the Phillies in one of what was a compelling regular-season interleague series between MLB’s top contenders.

The Phillies finished their eight-game road trip with a 3-5 record.

Coming into last weekend’s series between the Phillies and Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards had just one sellout all season.

When the Phillies rolled into Baltimore over the weekend, Oriole Park at Camden Yards had sellout crowds of 43,000-plus or more for three straight games. That’s because Philadelphia sports fans came down I-95 by the thousands and created their own version of Citizen’s Bank along the banks of Patapsco River.

As I have seen from covering the Eagles at the Super Bowl or in a regular season at Fed-Ex Field in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia fans travel well. During the three games of this series, Phillies fans turned Camden Yards into a neutral site like something you would see at an NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournament.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, the Orioles took two out of three games and their fans had the loudest cheers.

The Phillies return to Citizens Bank Park this week to try and get back to their winning ways. They start a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at 6:40 p.m. tonight. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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