Philadelphia Phillies: Tensions Rise As Mets Take Series Opener

Shots fired as Phillies drop first game of six against the Mets in April

Short memory. It’s what every player in Major League Baseball needs to have or else it can warp the mind. When youth gets mixed into this delicate recipe, it tends to overheat and teams get burnt. Such was the case last night at Citizens Bank Park when 24-year-old Edubray Ramos launched a warning shot over the bow of Asdrubal Cabrera.

A confused Cabrera ducked, then turned to vehemently verbalize his lack of appreciation for having his tower buzzed. When pressed after the game, Cabrera would say that he asked Ramos, “What the…are you doing?” It made perfect sense because it was clearly neither the time nor place for Ramos to take matters into his own hands.

At the moment the ball “slipped” out of the right hand of Ramos, the score was tied 2-2 with one out in the eighth inning. Players and reporters alike scrambled to search why Ramos would start a fight at that point in the contest. Was there a history? You betcha. But it still didn’t warrant retaliation by Ramos in a tie game, if it was even necessary at all. Thankfully, Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp was there to separate the Venezuelan countrymen.

What happened next was a lucid baseball life lesson laid down by the baseball gods. After walking Cabrera, a rattled Ramos was lifted for Phillies reliever, Joely Rodriguez. He was able to quickly dispatch an also seemingly souped-up Yoenis Cespedes on a three-pitch strikeout. Next up was right fielder Jay Bruce, who previously poked a home run to right-center field in the fourth. With the lefty-lefty set up intact, Rodriguez hung a 1-2 curveball and Bruce didn’t miss the mistake. He deposited the pitch deep into the night buzzing his own head in the process for a 4-2 score.

The Phillies still had two more chances to come back. With one out in the bottom of the frame, the Phillies put two on after a Maikel Franco walk and Michael Saunders single. The table appeared set for an immediate response, but the potential rally was killed at the hands of Hansel Robles. Three pitches later, he coerced Cameron Rupp into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.

In the bottom of the ninth, Brock Stassi fought off eight pitches and crushed the ninth offering from Addison Reed into section 101, row 1. The solo shot was the first MLB hit for Stassi, one he’d probably wish had a baserunner in front of him. Daniel Nava smoked a single to right field after that, but the Phillies couldn’t capitalize and went quietly into the night.

The loss was especially hard to swallow considering the circumstances which produced the go-ahead runs for New York. The ill-advised incident overshadowed another effective and efficient effort by Jerad Eickhoff. Pete Mackanin, who was erroneously ejected after the Cabrera/Ramos dust-up, will surely have a sit-down today with the young pitcher. He’ll undoubtedly stack some more weight on the heavy yoke already collaring Ramos directly with the defeat.

It might be worth wondering if the Mets pitchers–especially Matt Harvey–will retaliate tonight. Harvey is no stranger to standing up for his teammates and last night will be well within his short-term memory. Defending baseball’s unwritten rules, he knows it’s not a matter of the fact that Ramos threw at Cabrera, but where he threw it. If I were a betting man, I’d bank on retaliation tonight by Harvey or any other arm among the Mets staff. And in the event it does happen, Ramos will hopefully feel the sting of HBP education 400 feet away in the bullpen.