Phillies Review: Recapping the rollercoaster and magical week of 8/7-8/13

Michael Lorenzen
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Michael Lorenzen celebrates after pitching a no-hitter during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Phillies have a much-needed off-day on Monday, August 14th following a 17-game stretch. Their rain delay last Monday provided a little breathing room, but a rest day before heading to Toronto was just what the doctor ordered for the Phils.

This past week of Phils baseball had its highs and lows (like most weeks). Philadelphia took a four game series against the Washington Nationals and were one run away from a sweep. The club ran into a little trouble against the Minnesota Twins this past weekend, but a strong Friday performance and the return of team alumni made the series a little more tolerable.

Let’s recap the past week in Phillies baseball, and preview what is next for the team.

Phillies Michael Lorenzen
Philadelphia Phillies’ Michael Lorenzen pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Phillies took care of business against Nationals

Philadelphia began this past week by hosting the Washington Nationals for a four-game series. The Phils were scheduled to play Monday-Thursday, but rain caused for Monday’s game to be moved to a double-header on Tuesday.

Game 1:

In Game 1 of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Philly’s bats were firing on all cylinders. Kyle Schwarber hit two blasts against his former team en route to giving Zack Wheeler a comfortable lead in his most recent start. 

Wheeler wasn’t his sharpest, but it feels like that may just be the Wheeler we are getting in 2023. With a little less than two months to go, I am not sure if Wheeler is going to be the sub-3 ERA pitcher we have become accustomed to. However, there is little doubt he has been the best starter that the Phillies have had all season. 

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryson Stott, center, celebrates with J.T. Realmuto, left, after hitting a home run against Minnesota Twins pitcher Brent Headrick during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Game 2:

Game 2 of the doubleheader started off strong, as a Bryce Harper home run would give the Phils a 3-2 lead in the 5th. They would go up 4-2 in the same inning, and it felt like the game was in the bag.

Philly’s bullpen, however, had other plans. The Nationals would score three runs off of two Joey Meneses home runs to tie and take the lead. The Nationals would hang on to split the doubleheader with the Phils.

Game 3:

A bad loss Tuesday night could not slow the Phillies down heading into Wednesday’s game. Philly’s offense got hot once again, scoring seven runs in a winning effort.

Weston Wilson was called up from the minor leagues and made his MLB debut at the age of 28. Wilson hit a home run in his first career at-bat, which was a great way to start his big league career.

Phillies Weston Wilson
Philadelphia Phillies’ Weston Wilson reacts after hitting a home run against Washington Nationals pitcher MacKenzie Gore during the second inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Wilson had a great moment in this game but so did outfielder Nick Castellanos. Casty hit his 199th and 200th career home runs in the winning effort. Nick is not known for being a homerun hitter but the 200 mark is a very impressive feat.

Despite these great performances by Weston and Nick, nobody could prepare you for what Michael Lorenzen had in store. In his home debut for the Phillies, Lorenzen had the game of his career, throwing the 14th no-hitter in franchise history.

Phillies Michael Lorenzen
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Michael Lorenzen, left, and J.T. Realmuto celebrate after Lorenzen’s no-hitter during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Citizens Bank Park became unglued and arguably the coolest moment of the season so far took place when Michael got the final out on Wednesday.

To top it all off, his mom and wife were in the stands, living and dying on every pitch with tens of thousands of Phillies fans.

It was a magical night down at the Bank on Wednesday.

Game 4:

With a chance to win the series, Philadelphia would send Aaron Nola to the mound.

Nola did not have his best, and his defense did not help him out. A couple of mistakes and lengthy pitch counts chased Aaron out of the game relatively early for his standards,

Luckily though, the offense flipped a switch and Nick Castellanos, Trea Turner, and JT Realmuto would each hit a 2-run home run, giving Philadelphia a 6-2 win and 3 of 4 from the Washington Nationals.

Alumni Weekend

The Phillies display each season that they are one of the best organizations in all of sports. Their alumni weekend is something that all of Major League Baseball admires and the former members of the organizations look forward to coming back to Philly every year.

This year, the Phils had 3 members added to their Wall of Fame.

2023 Hall of Famer Scott Rolen, former General Manager John Quinn, and former owner Ruly Carpenter were all honored this weekend. Rolen will have an additional date on September 12th, as he could not be in attendance for this weekend’s festivities. 

Members of the 1983 and 1993 NL Championship-winning teams were also honored this weekend. Seeing so many important players, coaches, and front-office officials of years past was a treat as always. It was even more special to see most of the Phillies current roster standing outside the dugout in an honoring gesture toward the team’s history.

Meltdown vs Minnesota

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, they were unable to get a series win against the Twins this weekend.

On Friday night, they drummed the Twins, winning 13-2, in which capped off an incredible stretch from their offense.

Bryson Stott and JT Realmuto went back to back with home runs for the second time this season and rookie Johan Rojas hit his first career home run (albeit off of Twins’ OF Jordan Luplow).

The offense was left behind in game one however, as the Phils could only manage to score one run across the final two games.

Phillies Alec Bohm
Philadelphia Phillies’ Alec Bohm throws his bat after striking out with the bases loaded during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

On Sunday, with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th inning, Alec Bohm was rang up on an awful pitch, that home plate umpire Alex MacKay butchered. It wasn’t the reason the Phils lost, but a bad call in a crucial moment of the game changed the complexion of the remaining few innings.

The difference between a 2-1 game with the bases loaded and Bryce Harper batting, as opposed to 2-0 heading into the 8th, is drastic. 

Officiating cannot be the reason you lose however and the Phillies bats were quieted by Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray, who both did not allow a run in their starts. 

Looking Ahead

The Phils will be off on both Monday and Thursday this week.

They will start a two-game series in Toronto, as they send Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola up North to try and get them back on the winning path.

A sweep could go a long way for the club, as they remain on top of the National League Wild Card with 44 games to go.

Philadelphia will then head to D.C to finish their season series with the Nationals. Both Friday and Saturday will be played in Nationals’ Park, but the conclusion will be wrapped in Williamsport, as both teams will play in the Little League Classic.

One of the best additions to Major League Baseball in recent years, Philly will be returning to Williamsport for the second time. They will be greeted by a local team, as Media, Pennslyvania will represent the region in the tournament. 

Philadelphia needs to go at least 3-2 in these next five games. 4-1 would put them in a really good spot moving forward and 5-0 could really lock them into a playoff birth. We shall see how this week plays out ahead of us.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum