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Phillies Diamondback Series Recap: More of the Same

Before the series could start, the Phillies got some of the worst news they could get. Rhys Hoskins, the power hitting first baseman that had anchored their offense was lost for the year, and Zach Eflin’s knee issues would also end up not only scratching him from this start but ending his season as well. And after 8 innings against the then 43-85 Arizona Diamondbacks, both of their losses were felt. Philly had allowed 8 runs and only scored 2 of their own. Even a 5 inning rally in the 9th to make the game look a little closer wouldn’t let Joe Girardi escape the reality that if the Phillies couldn’t get on a winning streak, their already narrow path to meaningful October baseball would be destroyed.

And it wasn’t always pretty, but Philly responded by winning 3 straight to put themselves 4.5 games back of Atlanta heading into a long road trip.

In Game 2, it looked like it would be another game lost by the bullpen, as a two run Christain Walker homer sent the game into extras. But, Brad Miller was able to tie it at 6 after another two run homer in the 10th to set the table for Jean Segura to come through out of a slump and get the Phillies a much needed W.

In Game 3, Bryce Harpers sac fly in the 1st would end up being all the Phillies needed. Kyle Gibson continued to deliver with 6 scoreless, and from there Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris and Sam Coonrod went the rest of the way. Oh and I guess the other 6 runs were also nice. Jean and Didi both had 3 hit days, and the Phillies went back to back in the 3rd with Odubel and Segura. It secured the Phillies a series split, and is exactly what a game versus a worse team is supposed to look like for a team with playoff aspirations.

For the last game of the homestand, it was mostly the non stars that stepped up. Ranger Suarez continued his effectiveness as a starter, registering 5.1 innings of one run ball. Connor Brogdon and Archie Bradley both had bad outings on the mound, but it didn’t matter as Freddy Galvis, Jorge Bonifacio, Rafael Marchan and Travis Jankowski combined for 6 RBI’s and two triples, back to back triples at that, all to give themselves a 7-4 win, and to secure a series win as well.

In other Phillies news, JT Realmuto got the start at first base (partly because of Rhys Hoskins injury, partly because of Realmuto’s own discomfort) during Game 4 for the slumping Brad Miller. He exited with ankle soreness, but was replaced behind the dish by Rafael Marchan, the young prospect who has been mostly quiet with the bat but drawn rave reviews behind the plate for his defense. My guess is that Realmuto will continue to start at first to keep him from tiring his shoulder out, and Marchan will get the bulk of the innings behind the plate, especially with Andrew Knapp still on the COVID list.

Bryson Stott, the Phillies number 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has been scorching lately with the Reading Fightin Phils, posting a .411 batting average, 9 doubles, a triple and 5 homers in August. Stott is a 23 year old shortstop who initially struggled in Double A. If he continues raking like he has been, he could earn a call up early next season.

For the last piece of Phillies news, Bryce Harper continued his outstanding season by going 7/14 with 3 walks, 5 doubles and a homer against the Diamondbacks. His season-long OPS is now up to 1.003, which leads the MLB. Fernando Tatis Jr., his main competitor for the NL MVP award, has gone through a recent slump which leaves a lot of his numbers worse than Harpers. If Bryce keeps hitting like he has been while Tatis can’t find his swing, the Phillies will likely have their 8th MVP award winner in their history.

Up Next for Philly are two inter division road showdowns against the Nationals and Marlins, then a three game set against the division leading Brewers. As is stands today, the Phillies are 4.5 games back of the NL East leading Braves, and three games in front of the collapsing New York Mets.

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