Joe Girardi wasn’t upset Thursday afternoon about being ejected, but he was a bit peeved at the timing of it.
“What I don’t understand is I was walking down the stairs and that’s when he threw me out,” Girardi said after a 2-1 win over the Dodgers. “I mean, come on, either throw me out when I’m yelling at you but not when I’m walking down the stairs. I was done yelling.”
Home-plate umpire Alfonso Márquez tossed Girardi with two outs in the ninth inning after the manager objected to two close calls that could have been strike three but were instead called ball four.
The first call — a full-count fastball to Corey Seager — looked like a clear strike but was ruled a ball. The second call — a full-count curveball to Cody Bellinger — was a borderline strike and would have ended the game.
Ian Kennedy overcame the calls to strand the bases loaded for his third save with the Phillies since being acquired at the trade deadline. He hit Will Smith to load the bases with two outs after Girardi was ejected.
“I did learn one thing — Ian Kennedy can get a five-out save. I learned that today. Right,” Girardi said. “They don’t have to swing for it to be a strike. The one to Seager is a great pitch. The one to Bellinger was a great pitch. ... But he doesn’t respond, he doesn’t say anything, whether they’re a strike or not. He didn’t say one word and I don’t get it. That’s a five-out save and good job, Ian.”
Kennedy has not been perfect since joining the Phillies, but he proved Thursday that he can overcome adversity.
“That’s what you have to do,” said Archie Bradley, who pitched two innings of relief. “You learn in these late-inning roles, you kind of live and die by those outcomes and by those calls. And Ian is a true professional. And when you don’t get that strike three call that you’ve earned sometimes, the only thing that you can do is forget it immediately. You have to look back in on who the next guy is coming up to the plate and how you’re going to get that guy. Because if you spend too much time worrying about the call you didn’t get you’re going to get rocked by your next guy and lose a ballgame. And so you have to be able to forget it, figure out who’s coming up next and how you’re going to go get them out.”
Eflin makes progress
Zach Eflin had no issues Thursday morning during a 38-pitch bullpen session, which provides the Phillies hope that the right-hander can return later this month to help a rotation in desperate need of another starting pitcher.
Eflin said he could be ready to pitch in one or two weeks, and Phillies general manager Sam Fuld said it was fair to expect him back before September.
“We’ll take it one step at a time and see what his next pen looks like but that seems like a realistic timeline,” Fuld said.
Eflin’s absence forced the Phillies to return Chase Anderson to the rotation before he landed on the injured list this week. Matt Moore, who has a 6.79 ERA this season, will start Saturday. Eflin went on the injured list with patellar tendinitis in his right knee 10 days before the team acquired Kyle Gibson from Texas, meaning the Phillies have yet to see the benefit of a rotation headed by Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Gibson, and Eflin.
“That’s the goal,” Eflin said. “I want to be out there more than anything in the world, especially with all those guys. I’m doing everything I can to get out there as soon as possible.”
Rhys Hoskins met Thursday afternoon with a team doctor about his groin injury but Fuld said the Phillies still expect Hoskins to return Tuesday from the injured list. ... J.T. Realmuto did not start Thursday’s series finale but he did clear pregame concussion tests after leaving Wednesday’s game when he was hit in the face mask by two foul tips. He’s expected to play Friday. ... Zack Wheeler will start Friday against Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle.