The Rubber Match
After a disappointing series post All-Star break, the Phillies turned to a division rival needing a series win. A come from behind win in game one gave the team some momentum, but the offense quickly went quiet again as the Phils dropped game two. An early first pitch for game three would decide the series.
Although both teams are in their respective playoff races, the Phillies needed this series more than the Braves.
The beginning of this game felt like a game with an early start time. The hitters were overmatched in innings one through four. Morton had his fastball-curveball combo working, keeping the Phillies hitters off balance. At the same time, Kyle Gibson did a good job mixing up his pitches and locations. Gibson finished the day with 6 IPs, 4 K’s, 2BB, and the win.
Finally Some Runs
The fifth inning changed the course of the baseball game. Morton walked Bryson Stott to begin the inning. As often is the case, a lead-off walk came back to haunt the Braves. A poor pick-off attempt allowed Stott to get all the way to third. Then, Alec Bohm came up with his first RBI of the day with a base hit to left field.
Another error hurt the Braves as Robinson Cano botched a simple ground ball to second base. The Phillies took advantage as Herrera smoked an RBI run single to left. A Schwarber sac fly tacked on another. Later in the inning, a double steal put two runners in scoring position. Just like the weather, JT Realmuto stayed hot with a two-RBI single. Although we did not know it at the time, the five spot in the fifth was enough to win the ball game.
Atlanta responded in their half of the sixth on what seemed like the only mistake made by Gibson all day. Matt Olson hit his second home run of the series, getting Atlanta back in the game. But, if you thought this team would fall apart like in years past, you were sadly mistaken as the Fightins’ responded with two of their own in the sixth.
Alec Bohm has been on an absolute tear recently and added another RBI this time, with a double down the right field line. It was a great at-bat from the young third basemen who fought off multiple pitches. He fouled a high fastball down the right field line earlier in the at-bat, but made no mistake on the second one. Through six the Phillies led Atlanta 7-2.
The New Phillies Bullpen
The game was on cruise control from there on out. The bullpen shut down the Braves for the rest of the game. After a terrible start to the season, the bullpen has come into its own. A combination of Brogdon, Hand and Bellatti only allowed one hit through three shutout innings. This is a potential season changing win for the Phillies. Getting swept by the Cubs made this game a must win. The Phillies have a 51-47 record heading to Pittsburgh.
Onto the Next One
Since the All-Star break, the Phillies’ offense has been struggling. They scored 2, 2, 3, 6, 3, and 7 runs in the six games post-break. Hopefully, they can ride the momentum of this series into Pittsburgh. The Pirates are an abysmal 40-58. The Phillies have failed to take advantage of inferior opponents for the past few years. This year has felt different, for example, sweeping Miami before the All-Star break. I mean, who saw that coming? The Phillies need to use the momentum from this series and take advantage of an inferior opponent.
The series starts tonight from PNC Park, with the first pitch at 7:05 PM. It will be a battle of the Zach’s as Zach Wheeler is on the bump for Philadelphia and Zach Thompson for Pittsburgh.
Photo Credit: Matt Slocum/AP