Well, that’s one way to win two of three from the Atlanta Braves. Who would have thought after Tuesday night’s game, that the Phillies would win the series? Certainly not I.
Then, the Yankees came to town… and the Phillies actually swept the pinstripes out of Philly?
These series have shown us that this team still cares. They fight and claw until they run out of outs. Luke Williams is obviously the brightest light coming out of the Braves’ series because of his walk-off two-run shot to left field, but Zach Eflin grinded out a good performance after nine days of rest that game as well. The right hander tossed a stellar outing, where he pitched 6 innings, 7 strikeouts, and gave up 1 run. The other Zack was dominant in his outing throwing 8 scoreless innings, striking out 12, and only giving up 4 hits. In 4 out of his last 5 starts, Wheeler has struck out 10 or more hitters.
Don’t Let the Phillies’ Bats get Hot
The bats came up big when they needed too late in ball games to push the team over the edge. It seems like they are finally starting to wake up as we get to “the dog days of summer”. With Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto coming back from their respective injuries, it provides a lot more depth as we saw at the end of last season.
Ronald Torreyes has been a pleasant surprise as he is filling in for Didi Gregorius at shortstop. He has come up in big spots and delivering a ton of clutch hits. Although his ceiling might be a bench player, he is one that plays fundamentally sound defense and swings the bat well enough to hold his own. He is a solid player to have as a bench piece and is someone that can help a winning team.
A big shoutout has to go to Rhys Hoskins for not only stepping up offensively when Realmuto and Harper were out but for stepping up as a leader for this team. It is something that I think lacks- someone to show a little emotion when they do something well is needed. We saw this team have fun during the first series of the season but the energy level seems to not be there especially on the road. The Miami series really sticks out to me because of the video that came out of when he was mic’d up.
Keeping Up the Momentum
After he hit the home run he was fired up and let the bench know about it. The invention of the straw home run hat was a genius one by Archie Bradley to get everyone in the dugout excited. It is similar to when Brad Miller used a bamboo plant to create a spark for the club in the 2019 season.
Along with this, the Phillies scored 15 total runs over a weekend series against the Yankees. The best part?
They did this without a homer being hit. In their last four wins, three straight were walk offs. With the weekend in the books, the team is now averaging 6.2 runs per game in their last 10. There is no quit in this team, and they keep finding ways to win.
The Torturous Road Ahead
Over the next few weeks, the schedule does not work in the Phillies favor. Despite sweeping the Yankees, things do not look that appealing from there. First up comes a trip to the west coast where they will see the reigning World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants (and Gabe Kapler!).
As much as the offense has struggled this season, what has kept them in games has been their pitching. Specifically Ranger Suárez. He has been on fire this season when called upon. He peaked at 20.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, and only has allowed one run in his 21.1 innings pitched this season. The Phillies have needed every one of them. Luke Williams’s walk-off homerun does not happen without three perfect innings thrown by Ranger Suárez.
As the standings sit as of now, this team, for all of its struggles this season, is still only 4.0 games back of the division lead. If they can go on a run and win seven out of their next 10 games they could be right in it as the calendar flips to July. It will be hard with the teams that they will be playing and the west coast trip but if they want to be a playoff team, they have to win on the road and create their own energy to play together.
As I like to say, there is no better time to go on a run than right now.
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire