If you’re not paying attention, start. This team is really fun to watch! The Phillies ended the first full week of the season with a 6-2 record. I’ve already recapped the Braves series, so lets start with the Nationals series.
The Phillies faithful traveled to D.C in busses and packed the right-field stands to cheer on their new superstar. Before the game on Tuesday, it was revealed that The Nationals ownership offer to Bryce Harper was pretty pathetic, asking to defer money over 30 years. Harper also published a really nice letter to the fans saying how much he appreciated his time in D.C. Nat’s fans greeted him with a chorus of boos and called him a traitor.
Bryce’s Return to D.C
The Nats sent out their ace in Max Scherzer. The Phillies answered with their 4th started Zack Eflin. Eflin was spectacular. He was dominant with 9 strikeouts through 6 innings. The Nats fans were all over Harper as he struck out his first two at bats, but that wouldn’t last as he hit two doubles and then got his ultimate revenge with a second deck blast and bat flip for the ages. Oh and the Phillies won 8-2 with Hoskins and Realmuto going a combined 0-10 at the plate.
Game two and Nola on the hill. Win day!!! Well no, not even being spotted a 2-0 lead in the first. Nola got absolutely rocked in his three innings giving up 6 runs. The relievers then shut down the Nats and the Phils came back and took the lead with Harper leading the way, going 2 for 2, 3 walks and a run scored. However, the bullpen and defensive mistakes were costly. The take away from this game was that The Phillies are never out of the game.
On a complete side not for the game on April 3rd, the home plate umpire was GOD AWFUL! Now I am not saying this as an excuse as why the Phillies lost the game. He was horrible for both teams. His strike zone was all over the place. I couldn’t believe how bad that guy was. That is the type of game that makes me wish for the computerized strike zone, cue the baseball purists in 3…2…1…..
The Minnesota Twins came to town. The beauty of this team is that someone is always there to step up. In this case, it was the combination of Hoskins and Herrera going a combined 6 for 9 with 4 RBI. Nick Pivetta took the hill and pitched 5 solid innings. The Phils rolled to a 10-4 win.
Saturday’s game was a little quiet on the hitting front. Minnesota jumped out to a 3-0 lead even though Jake Arietta pitched really well. Harper had two hits and a double, and Hoskins homered. The Phils went into the 9th trailing 3-2, however, I still felt the were going to win the game. Well, that changed when Seranthony Dominguez let up a three-run homer to pinch hitter Eddie Rosario.
Sunday Funday and Winning Small
Sunday Funday and the bats were silent, for the most part. Zack Eflin once again took the hill and let up a leadoff homerun to Max Kepler. However, Zack would then shut the door, not allowing another run through 7 innings. So far this year Eflin is 2-0 with a .75 ERA and 14 strikeouts. The play of the game came on a routine single to left field. Andrew McCutchen gunned down the Twins runner trying to score with the assist of a fantastic tag by J.T. Realmuto to keep the game 1-0. Enter Rhys Hoskins, who popped up to left field for a two-run homer. The bullpen shut the door with clutch pitching from Dave Robertson and Hector Neris. Phillies proved they didn’t need 8+ runs to win 2-1 to take the series 2-1.
So the Phillies end the week in first place with the Mets a half game behind. The Phillies are playing great baseball and are a really fun team to watch. Gone is the feeling of last year that the game is over when they trail late in the game. The production of this lineup is amazing. Now let’s start this week off right by beating the Nationals again.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports