Series Recap- Phillies Take 1 of 2 from the Braves in Wild Ending
Wow. Just Wow. A game that seemed like it was destined for a classic ending ends up turning into a controversy. Not that the game was not great, but the last inning just felt weird after the huge stoppage from the Alec Bohm play at the plate. We'll get into that and much more in this series recap.
Phillies Starting Pitching
One of the biggest questions heading into this series was how the Phillies pitching rotation could hold up against the red hot Braves lineup. In Game 1, Zack Wheeler struggled early and only lasted 4.2 innings before being replaced. Although no one could expect the dominance he showed in his first start, it would have been nice to see him at least go 5 or 6 innings to give the bullpen some relief. I'm not saying he had a terrible perfoamnce, but It'll be interesting to see how he responds in his next start. Game 2 was Zach Eflin, and Eflin also started out poorly with 3 first inning runs for Atlanta. But, he bounced back very nicely and ended up giving the Phillies 6 innings of scoreless pitching. Now, I know everyone is going to pounce on Matt Moore and say he needs to be gone. I get it, trust me I do. But after thinking about it a little I feel like we are being way too harsh on him(myself included). It is only his second game in a Phillies uniform, and after the first inning debacle he really didn't pitch horribly. Yes I know 5 Earned Runs and 9 Hits is not great, but he did neutralize the Braves lineup for many 1-2-3 innings. I'm willing to give him more time before I beg Dombrowski trades for a pitcher before the deadline. The Phillies pitching was not great this series by any means, but I don't think it was horrible ether. They gave up a lot of Home Runs, but that is to be expected with the high powered Braves lineup.
The Offense Finally Heated Up
Yes, I know the 1 run Game 1 was not ideal. But, the Phillies bats really came alive the last two games of the series. Harper with 2 HRs and McCutchen, Rhys, Didi and JT all with 1. Rhys Hoskins in particular remains on absolute flames, with multiple extra base hits while maintaining a .313 batting average. Besides from the hole at CF in the bottom of the lineup(you could include Jean Segura here as well), it seems the entire offense is hitting well right now. I'll address that CF position very soon, but both Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley are almost guaranteed outs right now. Scratch them and you have a lineup almost hitting to their full potential. Harper seems to be starting to hit his stride, which will make wonders for this Phillies team. They went toe to toe with arguably the best and deepest lineup in baseball. By the way, Braves fans- please keep booing Bryce Harper. He feeds off it.
The Center Field position has been an absolute disaster and I cannot say I'm shocked by it. Although Adam Haseley has gotten some occasional hits, he has been striking out at an insane rate and has made some errors in the field as well.
Roman Quinn has not been better by any stretch of the imagination, as he has one hit this season in 12 ABs. It has come to the point where when Roman Quinn comes to the plate with two outs, you can almost call the inning off. I cannot begin to understand how Girardi can keep sending him out to the plate over and over again when the same result keeps happening. Haseley you can kind of get, as he has shown upside and can at least give you a chance at getting on base. But with Quinn, you cant. I have been the absolutely biggest Roman Quinn supporter over the last 2 years, but we have to admit it. The experiment is over. Roman Quinn is not a starting Center Fielder in this league. I'm perfectly ok if you want to keep him here to be able to pinch run in clutch situations. But we need to stop throwing him out at the plate and expecting a miracle to happen. It used to be injuries that was his issue, but not it is just not being able to make contact consistently. This is a position where the Phillies just need to make a move before the deadline. Hell, give Odubel a shot. I don't agree with anything he has done, but it is clear the Phillies were ok with him making the roster. He truly cannot be any worse then what we just saw for 3 games.
PS- Totally though Roman hit that one out earlier in the game, got up and celebrated before realizing it was caught at the wall. This article probably would have been different if he hit that one out. At least he is making some contact.
The Play at the Plate
I'm going to address this only slightly even though I'm sure you have read about it enough.
Now the clip I attached doesn't show the exact replay that did it for me, but you can at least get an idea. The angle I saw was from right behind the plate, and clearly showed that Alec Bohm did not touch the plate. I can admit that sincerely. The thing was, they did not show this angle on TV. I'm not here to try and defend this call, but I do think that Braves fans should calm down a bit. The bottom line is that the replay system in the MLB is very flawed, and this is only pushing that agenda on national TV. But, this is only Game 9 of the 2021 season. I'm a huge believer in the idea that you should never put the game in the umpires hands. They did give up a double to the gap to Alec Bohm only a few minutes earlier, and then let him steal 3rd. Marcell Ozuna definitely could have made a better throw as well. Again, I definitely think this was a bad call and the MLB should be taking a long look at their replay system. But I also saw some "Worst call of all time" tweets, which are incredibly extreme and untrue. The Phillies will not see the Braves for another month, so the Braves will have plenty of time to prepare for their so called revenge game. This does not mean the MLB is rigged or anything like that, but it again spreads the fact that Rob Manfred has to take a long look at his umpires and replay system. Also, can we not kill Bohm or Girardi for this? I know what they said postgame does not agree with many peoples opinions, but what else do you want them to say?
This section is going to be incredibly short, but I just want to point out how great Hector has been so far this season. In 5 games this season, 4 of them against the Braves, Hector has given up 0 Earned Runs and has 5 strikeouts. Once again when the Phillies needed him the most, he put down the Braves 1-2-3 to close out the game. We'll see if he can keep this up in the coming weeks/months.
The Phillies will travel to New York to take on the Mets in a 4 Game Away stand. This series is another crucial one, as the Phillies would like to take at least 2 games so they can stay at the top of the NL East. In their previous series, the Mets split with the Marlins for the first two games and then the last game of the series was suspended because of rain(that game will be made up much later in the season). Here are the projected pitching matchups:
Game 1: Anderson vs. Peterson
Game 2: Nola vs. T. Walker
Game 3: Wheeler vs TBD(most likely Stroman)
Game 4: Eflin vs. DeGrom
Today's game will be at 7:10 PM on NBCS Philadelphia in Queens. Keep it rolling.