The nightmare that has been the New York Mets has finally gone away. The Phillies have finished their season series against their rivals, and the trauma suffered during their matchups has finally ended. For a moment on Sunday, it felt like the Phils were going to split the series and finish with their heads held high. Ultimately, a win on Sunday was not meant to be, and they would drop three of four against the first-place Mets.
With this past weekend behind them, the Phillies need to look forward in order to move on. They host the Cincinnati Reds in a four-game series Monday through Thursday this week and need to bounce back against a lesser opponent. The Phillies will send their best arms to do so, and their offense needs to wake up if they want to put away the Reds.
The Phillies bullpen is lightyears better than it has been in the previous few seasons. The pen has been consistent and has given fans reason to believe they can make the postseason. You could say that the relievers that Dave Dombrowski has assembled have become an asset for this team.
The guy that has been leading the reliever core of the Phillies, Seranthony Dominguez, was just placed on the 15-day injured list on Sunday. Seranthony’s dominance this season has been a welcome surprise, and his arm has flashed since coming off his Tommy John surgery, which led to him missing over two years of game action.
Dominguez’s placement on the IL is an example of the Phillies taking a cautious approach. It is safe to say that if the team doesn’t have Seranthony down the stretch, the Phillies’ playoff chances will suffer. Getting their closer back and healthy will be priority number one for this team. The Phils have dealt with their fair share of injuries this season (including the last few weeks).
Rob Thomson does have options in the backend of the bullpen, however. The club did add closer David Robertson at the trade deadline, and Robertson’s second stint with the team has gone very well. Brad Hand and a resurgent Jose Alverado have also created a strong 1-2 lefty punch in the back end of the bullpen. The Phillies won’t fall apart without Seranthony Dominguez but the longer the team goes without him puts them in a vicarious position.
Reds round two: Electric boogaloo
The Reds will come to town to complete the season series this week. The Phillies took two of three games against this team last week in Ohio last week. They nearly completed the sweep, but the Reds walked it off to win one to nothing in the series finale.
The Phillies’ bats were the difference in the last series against Cincinnati. In one game, the offense looked unstoppable. The team hit five home runs, including two by Rhys Hoskins, and the club stomped the Reds. The following day the Phillies’ bats would go cold, and the club would not score. The inconsistency between the two games tells the story of the Phillies’ offense without Bryce Harper. The team awaits their MVP’s return, but until then, the club must continue to fight and claw to put together good outings at the plate.
As the Phillies head into Monday night’s matchup with the Reds, the Milwaukee Brewers head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers. The Phillies have a 1.5-game lead over the Brew Crew for the final Wild Card spot. The Phillies also have the head-to-head advantage thanks to their series win over the Brewers. This week could be a great opportunity to gain some ground in the playoff race.
The San Diego Padres, the team right ahead of the Phillies in the Wild Card, will take on the Cleveland Guardians. The Guardians are another team that’s fighting for the playoffs. They will be an even matchup with the Padres and could give the Phils a chance to leap past them for fifth once again.
AP Photo/Chris Szagola