Phillies Drop Finale to Pirates, Split Series 2-2.

Phillies Schwarber
Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Kyle Schwarber (12) gestures after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

It was a beautiful afternoon in South Philadelphia as the Phillies hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates in their series finale.

After taking two of the first three games, the Phils had a chance to win their third straight series and first at Citizens Bank Park. Despite an early lead, the team felt short and split the four-game set versus their in-state rivals.

Wheels Up and Down

Zack Wheeler has been everything the Phillies needed and more to start the 2024 season.

His first three outings of the season were nearly perfect despite the Phillies going 0-3 in those games. After a good start to Sunday’s series finale, Wheels seemed to begin to lose some of that magic.

In this afternoon’s contest against the Pirates, Zack was cruising, but it appeared as the game was moving that he was starting to lose his command. Two wild pitches and three walks from the team’s ace are very uncharacteristic of him.

After allowing a grandslam to Jack Suwinski, Wheeler would exit going 5 IP, 4 ER, 10 K, 3 BB, and allowed 5 hits. It was his 15th double-digit strikeout outing as a Phillie and his 23rd of his career. He would fall to 0-3 on the season, as his ERA jumped to 3.00.

Phillies Offense Stays Cold

A lack of offense from the Phillies has been an unexpected wrinkle at the start of the regular season. What, arguably, should have been their best unit is that the Phillies’ bats have not been able to produce just 16 games in.

Combining bad weather and unfortunate bounces, this well-established lineup could break out of its shell on any given day. On Sunday afternoon, the Phillies’ looked largely the same through the first few innings.

Trea Turner would get the scoring started with a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning. Trea’s solo shot would be his first of the season and a huge boost to his overall numbers.

That wouldn’t be the only damage done by Turner on the afternoon. In the bottom of the 5th inning, Trea would single home Johan Rojas to take a 2-1 lead. This came after a double steal netted Pittsburgh a run in the fourth inning.

After Turner’s RBI single, the Phillies offense wouldn’t bring home another run. While 7 Pirates runs might have put the game out of reach, the team did not muster enough action on the bases to attempt a comeback in this ballgame. They are averaging just 3.6 runs per game this season.

Phillies Turner
Philadelphia Phillies’ Trea Turner scores on an RBI single by Nick Castellanos during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Sunday Side Note

While the game was not very competitive for the most part, a former Phillie made history.

Andrew McCutchen would hit a two-run homerun in the top of the 9th inning, marking his 300th career longball. He is the fourth player in Pirates history to be wearing their uniform for their 300th homer.

Cutch obviously spent 3 season with the Phillies from 2019-2021, where he ingrained himself well with the team’s fanbase. He rejoined the Pirates in 2022 and will likely retire in Pittsburgh.

What’s Next in Philly

The Phillies will have two more series to go in their second homestand of 2024. They will welcome the Colorado Rockies and Chicago White Sox this upcoming week.

The Rockies entered Sunday with a 4-11 record, while the White Sox started play with a 2-12 record. The Phillies are far better than both clubs, but they will have to prove it on the field this week.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)