Game Recap: Phillies fall to Braves 5-1

Ranger Suarez Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ranger Suárez throws a pitch against the New York Mets during the first inning of a London Series baseball game in London, Saturday, June 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

In the second game of the latest series between the Philadelphia Phillies (58-31) and the Atlanta Braves (48-39), the Phillies fell behind early and didn’t mount any sort of comeback, losing 5-1.

The Phillies opened the series in Truist Park against the Braves with a big-time win by a final score of 8-6. Two home runs from Trea Turner and Aaron Nola’s 100th career win put Philly 10.0 games ahead in the NL East standings, the largest division lead in any MLB division. After evening up their season record against the Braves to 2-2, the Phillies failed to bring their A-game. They’ll look to take the series in a Sunday afternoon matchup before heading home.

Another rough start for Suarez

Ranger Suarez faced the Braves for the second time this season. It was a rocky start for No. 55, who punked right-handed-hitting Austin Riley out but had a very rough time against the other big bats in Atlanta’s lineup. Making matters worse was the Braves’ rookie starter having himself a good game.

Coming off his worst start of 2024, Suarez immediately put himself behind the eight-ball by allowing two hits and a run to the first two batters of the game. After notching two backward Ks, he surrendered a home run to Marcell Ozuna. The curveball was well below the strike zone but Atlanta’s DH got to it and sent it over the fences in center field.

Suarez didn’t go down without a fight, though. He bounced back with consecutive 1-2-3 innings, the first one on 11 pitches. Only one ball made it to the outfield, an easy flyout. In the fourth inning, Suarez allowed runners to reach second and third base before recording an out. But he escaped without any more damage to the scoreboard.

The bottom really fell out for Suarez in the fifth inning, when he once again allowed two straight hits, the second of which was a home run from Ozzie Albies. His night would end after that inning, concluding with 91 pitches. These last two games are the first time that Suarez has allowed five runs in consecutive games, which made his seven strikeouts — a single-game total he hadn’t reached since May 26 — pretty much irrelevant.

The Braves started the game with a Spencer on the mound, but not the one that Phillies fans are familiar with. 24-year-old rookie Spencer Schwellenbach has been a part of Atlanta’s starting rotation for the past month, making the seventh start of his MLB career against the depleted Phils. It’s the righty’s first time facing a division rival since he debuted against the Washington Nationals on May 29.

Coming into the game with a 5.68 ERA, Schwellenbach allowed a handful of hits but kept the scoreboard clean in three of his innings. He threw five different pitches at least 13 times, challenging the Phillies in and around the zone while making it through six innings without allowing an extra-base hit. His night ended with a 5.02 ERA, leaving him with perhaps the very best performance of his young MLB career.

Singling their way to a loss

Turner has been a godsend for the Phillies as of late, keeping the offense dangerous while its sluggers recover from injuries. In his first plate appearance, Turner hit a flyball that traveled 395 feet to center field. It would have been a home run in three ballparks but ended up in the glove of Jarred Kelenic for the second out of the game.

Johan Rojas again beat out a dribbler down the line despite a spectacular throw from Schwellenbach (who used to be a shortstop), giving Bryson Stott a chance to advance a runner. Stott hit a sharp ground ball that Matt Olson couldn’t reel in and Turner hit Rojas home with a single to left field.

Outside of that one sequence from the third inning, the Phillies’ offense went quietly into the night. They didn’t draw a walk through the first seven innings, fell into two-strike holes often and didn’t do a lot of damage when they were aggressive early in the count. David Dahl saw seven pitches in his two at-bats before being subbed out and recorded five (5) whiffs. The only other starter that didn’t record a hit was Alec Bohm.

Brandon Marsh made it to third after a single but Kody Clemens was nabbed by Adam Duvall and Rafael Marchan flew out to end the second inning. Save for the third inning, he was the only Phillie to make it into scoring position through Philly’s own volition. Nick Castellanos advanced to second on a wild pitch in the sixth inning and then watched as Clemens promptly struck out to end the inning.

Still, the Phillies only faced a four-run deficit when the order reset to start the eighth inning. Stott did his job by drawing a walk against Joe Jimenez but a flyout and a pair of strikeouts left him on the basepaths. The Phils went down 1-2-3 in the ninth inning, tallying their first game of the season with no extra-base hits and just a single walk.

Phillies injury updates

Now for some good news! Bryce Harper (hamstring) and Kyle Schwarber (groin) are both making progress in their injury rehabs. They each ran the bases before today’s game and could each be back before the All-Star break.

According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Schwarber ran the bases at full speed and is on pace to be activated on Tuesday, when the Phillies begin their first series of the season against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Harper could be activated on Tuesday, too, but his timeline isn’t as certain as Schwarber’s. The Phillies have one day of rest after this series in Atlanta and then a homestand against the Dodgers and Oakland Athletics (three games apiece) before the break.

J.T. Realmuto is still aiming to return after the break, Ken Rosenthal said on the FOX Sports broadcast.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)