A Comedy of Errors

Clearwater, Fla., February 25, 2017; Phillies 6, Yankees 5 — While Yankee arms subdued Phillie bats for much of their 9-4 home opening win on Friday, adding multiple late runs on a series of extra base hits, it was the Phillies who had the big hits Saturday, good for an exciting 6-5 walkoff win.

Although the visiting Yanks actually outhit the Phils 9-8, the home team outhomered their opponents 3-0, two of these by third baseman Maikel Franco (even if his second, inside-the-park shot went some distance toward giving this contest its semi-comedic feel). And if any additional evidence is needed to indicate that the Yankees did not blow the doors off against their opponents, consider this: Although the stats show that five Yanks scored runs (two by shortstop Gleyber Torres, who was also the only Yankee to collect two hits), the team as a group garnered just two rbi’s, because three of their runs scored on wild pitches.

Adam Warren pitched a strong two innings for the visitors, and even though young lefty Dietrich Ennis allowed Franco’s first long ball in the fourth — a 2-2 tracer to Frenchy’s left field bar above the fence — the run he gave up in the third was set up by third baseman Miguel Andujar’s throwing error.

The toughest day fell upon southpaw Daniel Camarena, who followed Enns with a one-two-three fifth, but struggled through a 26-pitch, four-hit, three-run sixth. The Yanks had taken a 3-2 lead in the fifth when a wild pitch to Dustin Fowler scored both Andujar and Torres, both in scoring position following back-to-back hits. Consecutive Phillies hits leading off the home sixth had Camarena in trouble, but a double-play grounder by Odubel Herrera produced two huge outs, even if it did tie the game.

And that is when a game in which the Phil’s got their first run aided by an error and the Yanks their first three on two wild pitches got weird.

Camarena got Franco to 2-2, but he fouled off two throws, then drilled a sure double to the wall in center, where, to the look of center fielder Tyler Wade, and to the (not official) replay camera, the ball disappeared under the outfield wall. With Wade calling for help with raised hands and second base ump Marty Foster arriving way too late, Franco first stopped at second, then drifted toward third. Suddenly Wade found the ball, but far too late to catch the scoring Franco. Had the game counted, the weird play might have set up a doozy of a protest, but that all became moot six pitches later, when Rhys Hoskins blasted a no-doubt homer to right center. Had Franco stopped at second even, he would have scored: 5-3 Phillies.

With even the young prospect Yanks no longer in the game, it could have ended quietly, but the visitors battled back. A one-out walk in the eighth (following a leadoff Pete Kosma single, then a nonsensical caught stealing in a two-run game?), a fielder’s choice grounder and catcher Kellinn Deglan’s rbi single closed it to 5-4.

Righty Hector Neris seemed in charge closing it out in the ninth, with a strike out and roller to first, but Ji Man Choi’s pop down the line into no man’s land in short left became a double, and Donovan Solano tied it with a single to right.

Playing for Detroit in 2016, lefty Joe Mantiply came on in the bottom of the ninth on March 2 in the GMS Field opener last year, but he gave up two runs and the Yanks walked off with a 10-9 win. But pitching FOR the Yanks this day in the bottom of the ninth, he got a three-pitch punch out. But he fell behind 3-1 in the count to the next two batters, resulting in a double, then single. Turnabout, fair play, the Phillies had their walkoff win.

On what would have been (Herbert) Zeppo Marx’s 116th birthday, it was a wild, perhaps even a madcap, or zany game, though an entertaining one.

A Comedy of Errors