The Los Angeles Dodgers have covered the spectrum this season en route to pacing the Majors with 64 wins, and along the way done their fair share of damage against some of the game’s top closers.
Hector Neris and the Philadelphia Phillies have experienced that on multiple occasions this year, including Tuesday night when he surrendered a three-run home run to Matt Beaty and blew a second save in his last three appearances.
Neris’ frustration boiled over as he immediately hit David Freese in the upper back and was promptly ejected from the game. The Phillies mounted a rally of their own in the bottom of the ninth to earn a walk-off win.
Neris was fined an undisclosed amount and suspended three games, though appealed and remained eligible to pitch throughout the remainder of the series. He was back on the mound Thursday, and this time converted the save.
The 30-year-old celebrated with a primal scream and shouted an expletive at the Dodgers, with several players staring back and not moving from dugout. Neris’ actions did not sit well with Dodgers Dave Roberts, as seen on the YouTube broadcast:
“The last out, obviously, you know, a hard-fought series. He’s a guy that got suspended for throwing at our guy a few nights ago. Obviously he’s appealing and he was emotional with the save and a big win for them. I think we played this series the right way, played it straight. So to look in our dugout and taunt in any way, I think it’s unacceptable. For our guys, who just play the game to win and play it straight and clean. Last game of the series, to look in our dugout, I think that exceeds the emotion. Look in your own dugout. So I think our guys took it personal. I took it personal.”
Even with Neris converting the save to help the Phillies earn a series split, it was not without some hiccups along the way. He benefitted from a borderline pitch being called for strike three on Freese, which loomed large as Alex Verdugo followed with a solo home run.
Justin Turner then hit a drive to the warning track in right-center field, which Bryce Harper caught amid some near miscommunication with Scott Kingery.
Neris’ struggles against the Dodgers date back to April 2017, when Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger and Turner hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to complete a walk-off win.
Barring a matchup in the postseason, or an unexpected trade, Neris and the Dodgers will not see each other again this season.