Matt Joyce and the Unwritten Rules of Baseball
In May, Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa turned on his own player, Yermin Mercedes, for violating an unwritten rule of baseball. Mercedes destroyed a home run on a 3-0 pitch while the White Sox were ahead 15-4. La Russa, a Hall of Fame manager, would have been extremely upset at left fielder Matt Joyce during the Phillies 17-3 rout of the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
In the top of the ninth inning, Joyce had the bases loaded with a position player on the mound. There were two outs in the game and Joyce had a 1-1 count. He tagged an 88mph pitch from infielder turned pitcher Alex Blandino to deep right center for a grand slam, increasing the Phillies lead from 13-3 to 17-3. For 36 year old Joyce, it was the sixth grand slam of his career and his first since June 2017. The grand slam pushed Matt Joyce over the 500 career RBI mark, joining only 60 other active players in Major League Baseball.
The grand slam gave the Phillies 17 runs in a game for the first time since July 2018. It was only the second game all season that the Phillies scored in double digits, the last being against the Atlanta Braves on May 7th, when they scored 12.
Andrew McCutchen hit two home runs. Ronald Torreyes hit his first home run since 2017. Odubel Herrera hit two home runs. Rhys Hoskins hit a home run. The seven overall home runs in the game matched a single-game franchise record from 1998 and matched in July 2018, also against the Reds.
In a single game, the Phillies turned a -33 run differential into a -19 run differential.
Just forget the unwritten rules of baseball. They used to be cool but it’s hard to make an argument for them in 2021. When you have teams such as the San Diego Padres and Tatis Jr bat flipping and dancing around the bases and Ronald Acuna Jr in Atlanta providing energy and entertainment on a nightly basis, it’s hard to ignore that the game is moving in a different direction.
For the Phillies, runs haven’t been easy this season. Last game against the Reds was a small sense of happiness.
The Phillies will be back home tomorrow night against the Washington Nationals with full capacity at Citizens Bank Park. Ring that bell, baby.
Mandatory Credit: MLB.com