Phillies vs. Braves Series Recap
Well, guess what? The Phillies will not play the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta again until September! This is surely a sigh of relief for Phillies fans, even if the Phillies are leading the season series against the Braves. The Phillies lost 2 out of 3 to the Braves, with some wild games in between. We'll get into that and more into today's series recap.
Now, I haven't exactly been welcoming to Vince Velasquez for the past couple of years. To be honest, I think he should have been gone 3 years ago, but here we are. I have to give him credit here, because he has looked pretty solid this season so far. On Friday against the stacked Braves lineup, Vinny V gave you 5.1 Innings with only 2 hits allowed and 1 earned run. The game before against Milwaukee, he pitched 6 full innings while only giving up 4 hits and 1 earned run. With Chase Anderson locking up the #4 spot(for now), it seems that Velasquez has now slotted into that #5 slot right behind him. I am in doubt that Vince can keep this consistent pitching up the entire year, but if he can be like this most games, that would go a long way in the NL East.
Hot and Cold Offense
After Friday's 12-2 rout over the Braves, it had seemed like the offense had finally turned a corner. The Phillies racked up 6 runs in the first inning and 16 hits in total that night, but then only had 6 hits in total on Sunday. Before the craziness that occurred on Saturday, the Phillies scored 3 runs in the first two innings and then went completely quiet in the next 7 innings. This offense has been incredibly inconsistent, which cannot be happening if the pitching staff continues to give you really solid outings. Players like Jean Segura and JT Realmuto have been great all year, but guys like Rhys Hoskins, Andrew McCutchen and even Bryce Harper(in that series he was awful) have been really streaky. It does feel to me like this offense is just due for a breakout very soon, and a series against the Nationals would not be a bad time to start.
Is Centerfield Odubel's Position to Lose?
Now, I know what most of you are thinking. What about Nick Maton? And yes, I agree with you to an extent. Nick Maton has had an incredible start to the season, and you need to find a way to get him into the lineup more often. But right now, I am talking about in the next 2-3 weeks. I don't think Joe Girardi will rush Maton into centerfield, so I could even see it taking a matter of months until he sees consistent time there. This is all dependent on if Odubel Herrera's hot streak continues, which is what I wanted to talk about here. In the last two series, Odubel has had 6 hits, 4 RBIs and one home run in around 20 at bats. This is not stooping to JT or Segura's level, but it is still a massive step ahead of anyone who has played center to this point. It does seem like he is getting more confidence every time he goes to the plate, and with Roman Quinn hurt right now he is getting time everyday. We'll see how all this Maton stuff plays out in the coming weeks, but I believe that Odubel will be the everyday guy for the foreseeable future.
I cannot tell you how exhausted I was after that game. Almost 5 hours of bad, sloppy baseball against the Atlanta Braves will do that to you. The Phillies jumped out to a lead early, but after putting zeros on the board after the 2nd inning, Hector Neris took the mound with a 3-1 cushion. Adrianza got on base, and Pablo Sandoval crushed a pinch hit home run to send the game to extras. It was really bad on both Hector and JT, as JT called a fastball when he really shouldn't have(Neris could have also done better then throw a ball right down the middle). Ether way, both teams tried to hand the game to each other in extras before the Braves walked it off in the bottom of the 12th. A near 5 hour game ended with the Phillies blowing a 3 run lead, thanks to Enyel De Los Santos. I have to give credit to the front end of the bullpen(not Hector) for holding it down after Velasquez went out; whereas the back end I can't say that as much. De Los Santos has really looked horrible since his return to the majors. Games like these can really go ether way, but it would have been nice if the Phillies could have stolen this one.
Small section for Ranger Suarez: he was very solid in his two innings of relief on Sunday night. I don't know if this success can be sustainable, but I'd much prefer him over David Hale already.