The Phillies 6 Game Road Trip started with a whimper, as the Phillies got embarrassed by a far worse team in the Diamondbacks. But they were able to end it with a bang, getting Rhys Hoskins back and scoring 7 runs over 4 innings to take a three game series with the freefalling San Diego Padres, who are now 1 game out of a wild card spot, and are 2-8 over the last 10.
In Game 1 on Friday, Matt Moore (!) and Blake Snell kept things quiet for two innings, until a walk, a stolen base and a JT Realmuto double put the Phillies up one run with Bryce Harper coming to the plate. After falling behind into an 0-2 count, the Phillies superstar worked it to a 3-2 count and got a slider he could hit. 430 feet later, it was 3-0 Phillies.
After a leadoff walk, Matt Moore delivered a 90 mph fastball to Manny Machado, who bounced it off the left field wall after it exited the bat at 119 mph, which is the 4th hardest hit home run statcast has tracked since 2015. In the 8th inning, Andrew McCutchen would double in a run and Fernando Tatis Jr. would get an RBI HBP, brining in Ian Kennedy for the four out save, and giving the Phillies a win.
In Game 2, Odubel Herrera had the Phillies out to a 1-0 lead on the second pitch of the game, while Aaron Nola was untouchable through 6 innings, carrying a perfect game into the bottom of the 7th. But, a ball that bounced off Brad Millers glove allowed Trent Grisham to come around and score on a Manny Machado Single, meaning we were tied up at 1.
In the top of the 8th, Nola himself led off with a double, allowing him to come around and score on a bases loaded HBP, which two batters later happened again. Now with a two run lead in the bottom of the 9th, Aaron Nola just had to retire three batters to finish his amazing day with a complete game. After a Tatis walk and Manny Machado flyout, Nola put Jake Cronenworth into a 3-1 count, and what happened next ended his day on the mound.
Ian Kennedy registered the final out of the 9th, and after the Phillies couldn’t drive in a run, Connor Brogdon and Andrew Knapp combined to let the pitch get away and the winning run to score, meaning the Padres would walk it off.
In Game 3, Kyle Gibson gave the Phillies 8 innings of one run ball, something desperately needed. And as I said earlier, with Rhys Hoskins back in the lineup the Phillies scored 7 runs across the 4th, 5th and 7th innings. Even a bases clearing double from Austin Nola in the 9th wasn’t enough to overcome the Phillies monstrous output. Now, they turn their eyes to a two game home battle with the Tampa Bay Rays after an off day.
As for other Phillies news, Bryce Harper is still firmly in the MVP race. But if he’s going to come out on top, he’ll need to catch Fernando Tatis Jr. The star San Diego shortstop/outfielder has simply been on a different planet than every NL player this year. So far on the season, Bryce Harper has an OPS of .972, which is good for 4th across the MLB, with a pretty sizable lead over the 5th place player, Juan Soto (.957). The problem? Tatis is first across the entire MLB in OPS, with an outstanding mark of 1.026. Both are amazing players, but if Harper wants to bring home some hardware he’ll have to continue his otherworldly hot stretch, and hope the other MVP candidates (and Tatis especially) endure some cold streaks.
To make room for Rhys Hoskins return, Alec Bohm had to be sent to AAA, which is disappointing for someone who was a rookie of the year runner up just last season. But, Joe Girardi clearly lost faith in Bohm (and especially his defense). And for a player that’s extremely hard on himself, it’s better for him to develop and get playing time in Triple A than to occasionally pinch hit and sit in the dugout with the big league team. I mean, just look at this.
Bohm has been hitting better recently, but I’m sure it’d make his life easier if he knew he could make mistakes and learn without costing his team runs as they try to grab a pennant. It’s not an easy move, but it’s the right one.
On a brighter note, Bryson Stott, the Phillies #2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is slashing .397 / .432 / . 658 in Double A after initially struggling to adjust.
Like previously mentioned, the Phillies have a two game battle with the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park Next.