PHILADELPHIA – The private meeting came about two weeks in the past in St. Louis, the birthplace of this magical Philadelphia Phillies postseason run, the place they have been warned there’d be nights like this.
They have been informed they might have video games by which they stunk up the place. they might have moments of glory, moments of failure. Lose video games they should win. Win video games they should lose.
effectively, on Friday evening time, in entrance of a frenzied sellout crowd of forty 4,607, they glided by means of all of the differ of feelings, and survived, worthwhile 4-2 over the San Diego Padres to take a 2 video games to 1 lead inside the proper-of-seven nationwide League Championship sequence.
nobody symbolized their evening time of craziness larger than Phillies second baseman Jean Segura, who’s having fun with in his first postseason in his eleven-yr profession, spanning 1,328 video games, basically the most common season video games performed with out making the playoffs by any lively participant in baseball, and had a sport of biblical proportions.
He giveth, and he taketh away.
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One minute, you’re seeing him blow a routine double-play ball, and apologizing to Phillies starter Ranger Suarez.
the subsequent, he’s spiking his bat into the underside after getting an infinite go-forward, two-run single.
Seconds later, he’s dropping his head after getting immediately picked off first base.
And his wild night concludes with him making a blinding, diving cease on Ha-Seong Kim’s sharp groundball to finish the seventh inning, leaping up inside the air, flexing his arms, and dancing off the sphere, virtually breaking the arms of everyone who’s brave enough to extreme-5 him.
“I imply, i am fired up,’’ Segura said. “i do not understand how one can clarify that, however it is like Goku, the little Goku, like one factor, like hearth inside my physique. Like I simply should get it out. Like explosive. Like, ahhh.
“in case you do not get emotional with forty five,000 people inside the stands, you are having fun with the unsuitable sport.’’
There can be nights like these, Phillies supervisor Rob Thomson warned his staff, in the course of the postseason. the good teams rise up and get effectively from it. The weak teams soften down. in case you’re going to get to the World sequence, you larger be strong enough to shake it off.
“We had that dialog earlier than the playoffs started,’’ Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto said. “We simply had a staff meeting and said, “hear guys, one factor goes to go unsuitable. We’re going to blow a sport. We’re going to lose a sport. We’re going to make an error. We’re going to strike out in an huge spot. one factor goes to go unsuitable inside the postseason, it occurs to everyone.
“We simply ought to place it behind us and know that on the tip of the day we’re going to notion the man behind us, and we’re going to win that sport that day.’’
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Segura endured every emotion of that in a single single inning, and lived to inform himself, going from a goat to a hero to a goat to a hero.
The drama started inside the fourth inning. The Phillies have been clinging to a 1-zero lead after Kyle Schwarber’s leadoff homer and Phillies starter Ranger Suarez induced what appeared to be a simple double-play grounder to shortstop Bryson Stott. Stott flipped the ball quickly to Segura for the essential out, solely for Segura to drop it. Second-base umpire Doug Eddings initially dominated that Segura acquired at the very least one out, dropping the ball on the commerce, solely for the dedication to be overturned.
So, as a substitute of an inning-ending double play, one run scored, runners have been on first and second, and there was nonetheless simply one out.
“that is the play that I most possible made three,000 instances in my life,’’ Segura said, “however for some motive I missed it. … As a participant, you be taught out of your mistake, and also you by no means put your head down. simply preserve it up, proceed to play the sport because you do not understand how the sport’s going to finish.’’
Segura walked to the mound, first baseman Rhys Hoskins said, and uttered the phrases: “’Hey Ranger, give me one other one. immediately.’ that is simply the variety of mentality you must have, and it’s superior to see Jean come by means of.’’
“We’re all going to make errors,’’ Segura says. “We’re human. …I really feel actually unhealthy as quickly as I make that mistake, however i do not let that hassle me. I preserve having fun with the sport the exact method. I preserve hustling. I preserve diving for baseballs. that is the method by which it is worthwhile to deal with the error, not let it get to your head.
“as a substitute of, ‘Coach, i am right here. i am scared for them to hit it to me. i am not ready.’
“No, let it go by. …probably I get a risk later inside the sport to win the sport, or probably do one factor particular tonight.’’
effectively, redemption was simply throughout the nook. The Phillies rallied inside the underside of the fourth with runners on second and third with two outs. Segura walked to the plate.
“In his at-bat,’’ Realmuto said, “we have been truly screaming from the dugout. We’ve seen it earlier than. He pushes that button.’’
Padres starter Joe Musgrove quickly acquired forward with two strikes, threw a ball inside the grime that Segura laid off. He fouled off a ninety three-mph fastball the subsequent pitch. Musgrove, figuring out Segura can be aggressive, threw a slider, low and away, barely above the underside.
Segura swung anyway, and hit a delicate fly ball to center subject. He watched the ball drop. Spiked his bat. And ran to first base.
“it is important if you’ve acquired gamers that will deal with the strain with two outs, with the sport on the highway,’’ Segura says, “and be in a place to get back by means of. I imply, that is the sport i truly love.’’
the very simple actuality that it was virtually an unhittable pitch, the place few hitters dare to go, made no distinction.
“We have been all making a joke inside the dugout,’’ Realmuto said, “that I can’t think about they threw him a chase breaking ball. Not many people can put a bat on a pitch like that.’’
And that spike?
“after we see the bat spike,’’ Realmuto said, “there’s usually some anger behind it. The bat flip? Guys aren’t too upset.’’
It was three innings later inside the seventh, with the Phillies main 4-2, when the Padres threatened as quickly as extra. they’d a runner on first base when Kim hit a bullet headed in direction of proper-center for a potential RBI, bringing Juan Soto to the plate. Segura dove to his left, snagged it, acquired up, threw to first, after which positioned on a current that had the group dancing of their seats.
Segura threw his proper hand into the air. Kicked his proper leg up in direction of the sky. He jumped up, acquired here down, flexed his muscle mass, and screamed, “Let’s go!’’
“I felt like flexing with him,’’ Realmuto said.
Six outs later, and the Phillies had their victory, leaving them simply two victories away from reaching the World sequence for the essential time since 2009.
“the method by which I deal with strain since i used to be a bit little one, I want it ….’’ Segura says. “It’s simply the method by which we deal with the strain in Dominican Republic. Even after we play winter ball, we have guys inside the stands, “Hey, if you get out, we’re going to kill you. we’re going to do one factor unhealthy to you.’ it is simply the method by which we play the sport on the market.
“as in contrast with right here, if you come right here, dude, it is a very utterly different variety of sport. i assume the strain, if you come from the D.R., it is nothing.’’
So, whereas all metropolis of Philadelphia may even be freaking out, and his staff proprietor saying he can’t sleep with the stress, you actually think about Segura goes to get back unnerved figuring out that he’s having fun with basically the most essential video games of his life?
“I waited eleven years for the risk,’’ Segura said. “i am not going to return. i will do the proper I can to proceed to grind it, to proceed to assist the ball membership, and produce one factor constructive every day.
“I simply waited too a few years for the risk, and that i needn’t let it go by.’’
humorous, all of the Phillies group can say the identical, going eleven years with out reaching the postseason, and 4,388 days with out worthwhile an NLCS residence sport, relationship again to Oct. 17, 2010.
they’re uninterested in seeing the highlights and reminiscences of their previous glory years, worthwhile the World sequence in 2008, and earlier than that in 1980. they should create their very personal historic previous. they should be the mannequin of perseverance and resiliency.
“We’ve talked about all of it yr,’’ Hoskins said. “bodily errors are going to happen on the sphere, however good teams uncover a possibility to take in these, whether or not that’s the subsequent inning, later inside the sport, however we acquired good gamers to do this, and we lean on every utterly different, particularly when issues don’t go effectively. ..
“I really feel like we’ve had simply a few of these all yr prolonged. I’m altering into much less and fewer surprised with us developing with huge hits, or merely discovering methods to win video games that we don’t really feel like we’re imagined to. It’s what we’ve executed all yr.
“It’s bizarre. It’s wacky. It’s lovely.’’
It’s Philly baseball, 2022 mannequin.
observe Bob Nightengale on Twitter @Bnightengale