Phillies bullpen looking to find an even-keel against Braves

After over a week of not having any baseball, the Phillies finally got back into action on Monday against the powerful New York Yankees. The Phillies got off to a slow start with their season reopener, dropping the first game of the series, 6-3.

To follow that dreadful game up, the Phillies had dual-aces Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola on the mound for a pair of seven-inning games on Wednesday. This, of course, being due to the heavy rain New York was anticipating on Tuesday. The Phillies looked like they were off to a potential Wednesday sweep. Zack Wheeler only allowed two runs in game one, while the Phillies’ bats led them to a whopping 11 runs. After the bullpen nearly blew an 11-3 lead, Hector Neris came in to close out game one.

Game two was a bit of a different story. The bats slowed down for both teams, and Aaron Nola took the hill. Despite cruising through six innings and picking up 12 strikeouts, Nola was pulled to see if the bullpen could close out the final inning. We all know how this story goes.

Tommy Hunter allowed four hits, where the Yankees scored two runs to take a 3-1 lead at the top half of the final inning. The Phillies would go down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning, letting the Yankees close the game out.

Series Finale:

Luckily, though, the Phillies were able to scrounge together a victory in the final game of the series. Zach Eflin got the nod for his first start of the season. Eflin, who has shown inconsistencies in the past, showed some of his best stuff in the season finale. After a (still unsigned!) JT Realmuto homer, Eflin settled in for a comfortable four innings of two unearned runs.

This game would become worse case scenario, as the bullpen had to take over for the latter half. However, they would surprise us all with hold after hold, aside from the two runs Nick Pivetta would surrender from a Gary Sanchez dinger. Hector Neris would come in and save that 5-4 lead in the final inning, earning himself his second save of the season.

Next up: Phillies v. Braves

Last season:

Despite losing nearly half their games against the Marlins, the Phillies managed to win the season series over Atlanta last season. Philadelphia took 10 of 19 from Atlanta in 2019. Last year’s division champions did not have any answers early in the season for the new-look Phillies, as Philly swept them in the first three games of the season.

The rest of the year would be a back and forth battle. The Phillies, however, displayed their highs and lows against the mighty Braves. Division matchups are always fun, no matter the sport. However, the Braves-Phillies series this year, similar to last season, could be more enticing, as the division could be on the line between the two squads.

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Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

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