Phillies surge past the Blue Jays: What we learned throughout the series

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Alec Bohm (28) and Darick Hall (24) celebrate with teammates after a baseball game against the New York Yankees Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in New York. The Phillies won 4-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

It was a wild one, but the Phillies came back to beat the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of a two-game set.

The Phillies earned their first sweep of the season against the Jays and will have another off day on Thursday before heading West to play the Rockies and the Giants.

The Phillies improved their record to 18-19 on the season. With all of the injuries that this team has dealt with to start 2023, I would consider this to be a decent position at this point in the year. But with Bryce Harper and Ranger Suarez back, it is time for the Phillies to win some baseball games.

Phillies vs Blue Jays: Game 1 Recap

A Dollar Dog Night Delight

The third and final Dollar Dog night of the Phillies season took place Tuesday night in the opening game of the series.

Aaron Nola took the mound for the Phillies against Alek Manoah of the Blue Jays. Two of the best arms in the game are always a treat to watch, but Aaron Nola shined in this one.

Nola would pitch six strong innings for the Phillies in this game. Striking out six batters and allowing only two runs, Nola did his job by putting the Fightins in position to win the game. Bo Bichette was really the only batter who had a good outing against Nola, and the Phillies ace left the 6th with a 3-2 lead.

The velocity that we are used to seeing Aaron pitch with started to return in this game. As the season starts to ramp up in the coming weeks, so too will the Phillies’ right-hander.

Nick Castellanos is back!

I told everyone who would listen that last season’s Nick Castellanos was an outlier and that he would be back to form in 2023. Was I right, or was I right?

Castellanos has gotten off to a great start this season and has legitimized the cleanup spot in the Phillies lineup. Castellanos has really been the most consistent hitter for the team as of now, and he had a really nice game on Tuesday night.

Casty went 3-4 and was a triple shy of the cycle. His 2-run home run in the fourth gave the Phillies the lead, and they never looked back. Nick drove in 2 runs and scored two runs himself and even made another really great catch in right field.

He was my player of the game, and his offensive contribution won this game for the Phillies.

Phillies vs Blue Jays Game 2 Recap

Pitching Clinic

Tuesday’s game was a nice offensive outburst that gave the Phillies a comfortable lead for most of the game. While there were some tight spots in the game, their offense really gave the pitching staff the support they needed.

Wednesday afternoon’s game was a little different. An even better pitchers’ duel broke out, but this time between Zack Wheeler and Kevin Gausman. They are two of the nastiest right-handers in baseball, and they delivered for their teams in this game.

Aside from a solo home run to Brandon Belt, Zack Wheeler was dominant in this game.

Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Going seven innings, Wheeler ended up only allowing three hits, one run, and seven strikeouts. He went over 100 pitches, which is important to see from Wheels, who has shown he can go deep into games.

Between Nola and Wheeler’s starts, it felt like we had our aces back. Let’s hope they can string a few more of these starts as the team moves along the schedule.

A Different Kind of Win

So after putting up an 8 spot Tuesday night, it was only extremely likely that the Phillies would put up 2 runs on Wednesday. Baseball is a funny game and sometimes, 2 can feel even greater than 8.

Heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Phillies trailed the Jays 1-0. The Brandon Belt home run off of Zack Wheeler was proving to be the difference but the Phillies looked to answer back.

Bryce Harper led off the inning with a single, putting the tying run on base. This was a great piece of hitting by Harper, who has picked up right where he left off last season.

Nick Castellanos would nearly end the game with a home run to left, but the ball hooked foul. Casty would battle against Jordan Romaro, Toronto’s closer, and eventually reach base on an infield single.

Two runners on with nobody out was the situation after that. Kyle Schwarber would strike out, resulting in the first out of the inning. In stepped JT Realmuto to the batters’ box.

Realmuto would rip a double to left, scoring Harper and moving Castellanos to third.

Alec Bohm would hit a ball to first, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr would make a nice throw to get Casty at home. Brandon Marsh was intentionally walked, and Edmundo Sosa would ground out to third to end the ninth.

Extra Innings

The Blue Jays would not score in the top of the 10th, meaning the Phillies just needed one to win the game.

Edmundo Sosa would start the inning at second, and Bryson Stott would lead off.

Stott would try and bunt Sosa to third but ended up striking out. Trea Turner would walk, bringing Bryce Harper back to the dish.

Harper would rip the ball back up the middle, but Blue Jay’s reliever Tim Mayza would snag the ball. He would throw Turner out at second, but shortstop Bo Bichette would sail the throw to first base, allowing Edmundo Sosa to score and for the Phillies to get their second walk-off win of the season.