Updated: Aug 10, 2021
The Philadelphia Phillies prior to Friday's series opener vs. the Mets trailed New York by just a half a game after winning there last 5 contests, and looked to continue taking care of business at home and move into sole possession of first place in the NL East. In these 3 games vs. the Mets the Phillies did just that, winning all three games and moving themselves into 1st in the division. Philadelphia now posts a 2 game lead over the Atlanta Braves and a 2.5 game lead over the Mets in the standings.
Bryce Harper continued this late MVP surge with his 2 run home run in the 8th inning of game 1 off Edwin Diaz to give the Phillies 2 more insurance runs that proved vital. He also went deep in game 3 on a fastball off Taijuan Walker to put the Phils up 3-0 which would eventually be the final score of Sunday's ballgame. He currently is riding a 17 game on base streak, is living up to all the expectations that were put on him when he signed that big 13 year 330 million dollar contract in the winter of 2019, and is showing the baseball world once again how special a talent he truly is.
The stars of the show on Saturday were the role players on this team. Brad Miller getting all 3 starts at 1st in this series while Rhys Hoskins nurses an injured groin showed up in a big way in game 2 going deep twice. He got the scoring started on Saturday with a bomb off Tylor Megill into the bullpen that put the Phillies up 1-0. Later in the game he got Yennsy Diaz with a home run to left field that put the Phillies up 5-0. The biggest blast of Saturday came from Odubel Herrera who sent a baseball all the way to the second deck in right field for a three run home run to cap off a 4 run 5th inning. But the biggest stars of this game was the bullpen arms. Ranger Suarez with 2.2 scoreless innings, JD Hammer with 2.1 scoreless innings, Neris with 2 clean frames, Alvarado with a clean inning, and Ian Kennedy shutting the door after Mauricio Llovera gave up back to back to back solo home runs in the 9th inning. The bullpen has been the achilles heel of this team all year, and to see them shut it down in a game where this team needed them the most in such a big series was huge and really gave Phillies fans hope that this unit can turn it around during the stretch run of this season.
This weekend although as much as baseball was the focal point of the weekend, the the most important moments came before the first pitches were thrown in any of the games played. The Phillies honored the late great David Montgomery on Friday for recently winning the Baseball Hall of Fame's glorified Buck O' Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. On Saturday, Manny Trillo was inducted to the Phillies Wall of Fame. And on Sunday, the late Roy Hallady's illustrious number 34 was forever retired in the city of Philadelphia. Sunday was an emotional day at Citizens Bank Park and there was no man more fitting to take Doc's mound on his day than Zack Wheeler. Wheeler turned in his best start of the season throwing a complete game shutout, punching out 11 Mets hitters, allowing just two hits, and only allowing one base on balls in 108 pitches. It was only fitting that Zack having the career year he's having this year threw his best game on Roy Halladay's day. The quote that says it all came from manager Joe Girardi who said in his postgame press conference "It was like Roy had his hand on him". That couldn't have described his performance any better. And with Roy Halladay watching over all of us at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies took Sunday's game by a score of 3-0 to move the Phillies to a 2 game lead in the NL East over the Braves.
If there wasn't already before the weekend, the taste of Red October is sure in Phillies fans mouths after the weekend. The Phillies who haven't made the playoffs since 2011 are eager to get back into the postseason and there is hope and a feeling among the fans and those in the clubhouse that this year could be the year they get back in. The Phillies have the easiest strength of schedule of opponents left in the big leagues in there final 50 games and if they just take care of business and win the games they should Red October could soon be a reality. The Phillies are off on Monday before hosting the loaded Dodgers for 3 games at Citizens Bank Park. They look to get Odubel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, and Didi Gregorius back in the lineup at some point in this series and hopefully before contest. First pitch on Tuesday is at 7:05 with Aaron Nola taking the mound as they look to extend there winning streak to 9 in a row. Lets go Phillies!