Rob Thomson was a bit late getting to his first post-game press conference as Big League manager on Friday night.
That’s because the Phillies played one of their best games of the season in a 10-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels, and when it was over, the players wanted to give their new captain a little toast.
Kyle Schwarber said a few words at the club and everyone handed a cold adult drink to Thompson, the 58-year-old baseball player who got his first shot when Joe Girardi was sent off earlier in the day.
“We had a little celebration and it was fine,” Thompson said, and he seemed to prefer not to talk about it.
It was an emotional day for Velez as Gerardi was let go and Thompson moved from the bench coach to lead the club on a temporary basis.
If the Phils keep hitting five home runs every night and get the kind of show they got from Zach Eflin, Thomson could lose the tentative mark one day.
But this is before the match. For now, the Phils need to keep winning and shake off the massive deficit they are facing in the NL East and the league’s wild card race. There are 110 games left. They are 23-29.
“It’s a sad day,” Evelyn said. “Joe is a great guy and he’s done a lot of really good things for us. Not only is he a great guy, he’s a great baseball guy. But at the end of the day we have to play hard every night. This group knows that. We’re so happy for Thoms, making him wins. We’re looking to take that momentum to the next match.”
Perhaps Gerardi’s release shocked the club. Maybe it was one of those nights. Be that as it may, the Phillies, who are often a poor defensive side, put on two stunning plays on the court, picking up hard hits at the plate and a thrilling throw from Eflin, who made eight knockout rounds against a hard-fought Angels with nine straight losses. .
“Insulting us he kept putting zeros and I kept putting zeros,” Evelyn said. “We were kind of feeding on each other.”
“It was a great day in all aspects of the game,” said Schwarber, who has played twice and made his first appearance on the pitch from the bottom of the first. “We need to keep building on that.”
Bryce Harper was asked if the shooting had set a fire under the cabaret.
“I thought we went in there and played the game we were supposed to play,” he said. “I hope that will be a stepping stone for tomorrow and winning the group.”
Like Schwarber, Harper introduced himself twice. His Las Vegas teammate, Bryson Stott, is also a first in the major leagues.
Nick Matton, who climbed from Triple A when second baseman Jean Segura fell earlier in the week, had his second straight bout with the RBI triple. He also made a great catch diving behind second base in the shallow right field. Mattoon had to leave the match with a sprain in his right shoulder as a result of hitting the ground. He will undergo an MRI on Saturday. The team hopes he won’t be the last player to get injured. Segura and Shortstop Didi Gregorius are already out. Gregory may return next week.
Stott and Mattoon have brought youth energy to the squad in the last two games, both winning.
“There was a lot of energy tonight,” Thompson said. “I think part of that was our going out on the day off (Thursday) and part of it was these kids at the bottom of the rankings.
The Phils will be looking to continue winning for Thomson on Saturday night. They face a struggling team and have Zack Wheeler, NL pitcher of the month for May, on the hill to oppose Michael Lorenzen.
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