The Phillies are now riding a 3-game win streak after gaining the upper hand on the Nationals in the first 2 games of the series. The Phillies led the charge in choosing to postpone the final game of the series in solidarity with the protests of police brutality, which are ongoing across the country and all major sports leagues. The decision was spearheaded by Rhys Hoskins and by all accounts the team was fully united in the decision. The game will be made up on September 22nd.
As far as the on-field performance, this was an extremely encouraging series for the Phils. The first game was won by a score of 8-3 with Jake Arrieta getting the victory. The second game of the series was much closer as the Phils held on to a 3-2 victory. Aaron Nola pitched a gem in this one, going 7 innings and allowing 2 runs while tallying 8 strikeouts. While the performance was not exactly how he drew it up, Brandon Workman held on for the save.
Phillies’ Bullpen Turning Around
The Bullpen has been the lame wheel on the Phillies that has kept them from taking off in the way they should be capable of all season. This has been talked about in great depth this season, but it looks as if a turnaround may be occurring. Over the 6 innings of work that the bullpen was given in these 2 games, just one earned run was allowed which was an Adam Eaton home-run hit off Heath Hembree.
The new arms have been somewhat unsteady, but that is still several notches above the horrendous performances that were commonplace before the trades. Brandon Workman allowed 2 hits in his save opportunity but also managed to strike out 2 and held on the win. Tommy Hunter has also seemed to have found a groove and has been solid over his past few outings.
Bryce Harper lights up
Bryce Harper is incredible at baseball. He has put himself firmly in the MVP conversation as he is hitting .321 and is leading the NL in both slugging percentage and OPS. Harper knocked in the go-ahead run in the 7th inning of the 3-2 victory with a solid opposite field single. Bryce will need to keep up the red-hot pace as the Phillies look to make some noise in the next few weeks.
It’s time for the Phillies to pay Realmuto
Not much more can be said besides “Pay the Man.” Realmuto leads the team in RBI’s and added 3 more this series as well as his 9th home-run. JT also flashed his glove-work this series, especially in securing the save on Wednesday. Workman was all over the place with his pitch placement and Realmuto made a game-saving block on an in-the-dirt curveball with runners on the corners and 2 outs.
The next pitch was also a tough in-the-dirt snag which came on a checked swing strikeout that ended the game. While plenty is said about JT’s superb plate approach, he is not given enough credit for his defensive prowess and the professional way that he has handled all of the pitchers on the roster.
There is no doubt he is the Best Catcher in Baseball and I feel I can speak for all Phillies fans when saying I hope the front office digs deep into their wallets to make sure he has on red pinstripes again next season.
A more surprising name, Segura seems to have found his swing again. Segura went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI’s in the first game and had another single in the following game. Segura played one game at 3rd base and another at 2nd, which was expected given the call-up of Alec Bohm. Segura has been somewhat of a disappointment this year, but it would be nice for him to be able to turn things around and lock down a regular spot on the diamond once again.
There does seem to be a growing sense of momentum surrounding the Phillies right now. With a current record of 12-14, the Phils have now climbed to 3rd in the NL East. If they can climb back to .500 and continue to win, postseason baseball is very much a possibility for this team. The bullpen still is not perfect and this team still has holes, but it is exciting to see them beginning to turn into the team that had been expected all along.
Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire