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Phillies - Nationals Recap: Brad Miller Saves the Series

The Phillies salvaged a four game split behind some late game heroics, and are back at .500 heading not only into the trade deadline but into a series against the Pirates.

Game 1

Spencer Howard was on the mound on Monday, and mostly cruised through the first three innings, before allowing back to back triples and 4 earned runs in all. In the 6th innings, a Bryce Harper single and Andrew McCutchen double led to a huge three run Rhys Hoskins home run which cut it to 4-3. When Didi Gregorius couldn’t make a play in the top of the 9th, it was 5-3 Nationals. Then, Jean Segura doubled and got to third on a wild pitch. Bryce Harper walked to put runners on the corners, and Andrew McCutchen delivered, and what a spot for him to do it.

Game 2

I’m sure the Phillies kept this momentum going right? Matt Moore didn’t get the memo, as in two innings he allowed two three-run home runs, with the Phillies only answer being a Bryce Harper RBI Double. While Moore managed to finish two more innings, the most impressive part of this game was the Phillies bullpen with 5 scoreless. Not only 5 scoreless innings from this bullpen, but 5 1 hit, no walk innings is a great achievement and the bullpen mostly did well this series (considering they had to pick up the slack in a major way). And the offense? They continued to suck with runners in scoring position but they did get back to back homeruns (including an inside the park one) so at least they weren’t boring? Either way, the loss only magnified the problem that starting pitching is for the Phillies.

Game 3

Wednesday’s game was delayed because Trea Turner (who’s now a Dodger) tested positive for COVID, meaning a double header was in order the next day.

In the first game, Zack Wheeler and Max Scherzer (in his last game as a National) went at it, with the game tied at 1-1 through 6. In the top of the 7th, Yan Gomes hit a deeeeep fly ball past the center field wall that put the Nats up 3-1, for good this time. Now, the Phillies were on the brink of losing the series to a Nationals team in the process of selling.

Game 4

Christopher Sanchez got destroyed in the first inning, and the Nationals had a 4-0 lead before a Phillies player was in the batter's box. And after 2.5 innings, Washington had a 7-0 lead. Through the next couple of frames, Rhys Hoskins, Andrew McCutchen and Alec Bohm (!) all hit solo home runs, and McCutchen added another RBI Single to make it a 7-4 ballgame. Rafael Marchan (who caught this game) also did this to throw out Juan Soto, which is pretty neat.

But going into the bottom of the 7th down three runs, the Phillies were short handed. Rhys Hoskins (who had 4 RBIs so far this series) and Bryce Harper (who reached base safely 11 times in this series) both out due to injuries, and they were out of position players, meaning Vince Velasquez pinch hit. With all that, they managed to load the bases for JT Realmuto.

And needing two runs, JT Realmuto delivered, and a two run single sent this one into extras. Ranger Suarez allowed Washington one run, and the Phillies offense needed to come through again, with Rafael Marchan on second. Odubel grounded out, and Jean Segura was walked to face pinch hitter Aaron Nola, who drew a walk to load the bases, with Brad Miller up with the chance to be the hero.

And you’ve probably seen how this goes.

That could be a momentum changing play for this Phillies team, and could maybe urge the Phillies further in the direction of buying. But now, on the day of the deadline, Dave Dombrowski has some tough decisions to make. Philadelphia is back at .500 with a three game set against one of the worst teams in baseball up next.

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