Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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It took a little while, but the Angels continue to roll.

Thanks to a walk-off single from Efren Navarro in the bottom of the 16th inning, the Angels topped the Mariners 3-2 last night (or early this morning, really) at Angel Stadium. The game took five hours and 14 minutes to complete and ended at around 3:20 a.m. ET. I’ll be honest, I was fast asleep by then.

The Angels had an early two-run lead in this one, but the Mariners tied it up by scoring two runs in the seventh inning. The bullpens took over from there and they were both tremendous. The Mariners ended up using eight pitchers (including four scoreless innings from Tom Wilhelmsen) while the Angels used nine. However, the Angels finally got something going after Mike Trout hit a one-out double off Dominic Leone in the 16th. Albert Pujols hit a comebacker for the second out of the inning, but after Josh Hamilton was intentionally walked, Navarro sent Angels fans home happy with a base hit up the middle.

The Angels have won six straight games and now sit at 58-37 on the year. While they are 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Athletics in the American League West, they own the second-best record in the majors.

Your Friday box scores:

Mariners 2, Angels 3 (16 innings)

Rangers 5, Blue Jays 1

Brewers 4, Nationals 2

Indians 9, Tigers 3

Rockies 2, Pirates 4

Reds 3, Yankees 4

Royals 4, Red Sox 5

Giants 9, Marlins 1

Astros 2, White Sox 3

Phillies 4, Braves 6

Rays 6, Twins 2

Dodgers 2, Cardinals 3

Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 5

Orioles 4, Athletics 5

Mets 5, Padres 4

There was another miscommunication between the Phillies and Pat Neshek

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Back in June 2017, then-manager of the Phillies Pete Mackanin and reliever Pat Neshek had some miscommunication. In a series against the Cardinals, Neshek worked a five-pitch eighth inning and it was believed he would come back out for the ninth inning, but he never did. Mackanin said Neshek said he didn’t want to pitch another inning. Neshek said he was never asked. There was also some miscommunication the game prior. Neshek thought he had the day off; Mackanin said Neshek said he wasn’t available to pitch.

Mackanin is no longer the Phillies’ manager, but the miscommunication between Neshek and the team apparently persist. Neshek was notably absent during the Phillies’ hard-fought 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday night. The game featured a struggling Seranthony Domínguez pitching two innings, yielding three crucial runs in his second inning of work.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the bullpen and instructed Neshek to begin warming up to prepare to face Albert Almora, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kapler rang the bullpen after Domínguez walked Jason Heyward, who batted ahead of Almora. Neshek wasn’t warmed up yet. Domínguez was able to retire Almora on a sacrifice bunt, which was reviewed and gave Neshek some extra time to get ready. He was ready for the next batter, Daniel Descalso, but at this point Kapler no longer wanted to bring Neshek into the game. Descalso lined a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs and came home himself when shortstop Jean Segura‘s throw caromed off of his foot out of play.

Recounting the situation, Neshek said, “I got on the mound and threw two pitches. [Kapler] said, ‘Is he ready?’ And I said, ‘No. I’m not ready yet. I’ve thrown two pitches.” Neshek was asked how long it takes him to get ready. The veteran said, “A minute. Not 20 seconds. I’m, like, the best in the league at getting ready. My whole career has been coming in like that.”

The Phillies were able to eke out a 5-4 win. Had they lost the game, Kapler and Neshek would likely have been under the microscope for the awkward situation leading to a crushing defeat. Kapler drew plenty of criticism over his bullpen management last year in his rookie managerial season. That included bringing in lefty reliever Hoby Milner into a game in which he hadn’t yet warmed up.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the manager who struggled with bullpen management last year nearly mucked up a win last night, and maybe it’s just a coincidence that a reliever who’s had prior issues with communication had another communication mix-up. Maybe it’s not. It’s worth noting that the Phillies needed three innings from the bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on Tuesday. Kapler called on rookie Edgar Garcia for two outs, lefty José Álvarez for four, and then brought in Juan Nicasio to close things out in the ninth. No Neshek, even as Nicasio got into trouble. Nicasio would surrender the tying and go-ahead runs, resulting in a deflating 3-2 loss.