It was a roller coaster series for the Phillies against the Nationals last weekend.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, there were more downs than ups.
In Friday’s game, the Phillies had a 6-run top of the 4th inning to give them what seemed like a substantial lead against a not-so-good team.
The only problem? The Nats answered with a 6-run inning themselves in Michael Lorenzen’s worst start as a Phillie.
Saturday’s game started off the opposite. The Nats jumped out to a 3-run lead as the Phillies were held to just 5 hits through 6 innings.
Luckily, the Phillies’ fortunes changed after a Nick Castellanos game-tying three-run blast in the 7th, followed by a remarkable 8-run eighth. In the 8th, Trea Turner became just the 3rd ever Phillie to hit two homers in an inning. It was one of the Phillies’ most surprisingly dominant games of offense, even when all of the action came in the last three innings.
Going for the series win in Williamsport, the Phillies immediately were down against Washington as the Nationals scored 4 first-inning runs against Zack Wheeler. That early lead was ultimately enough to win them the game.
On Saturday, the Phillies scored 12 runs off of 16 hits. A day after, they scored 3 runs off of 6 hits. Inconsistently was the problem in Washington for the Phillies.
The Phillies will head back to Philadelphia to face off against the Giants. San Francisco is only 2 games back from the Phils in the top spot of the Wild Card standings.
After losing 2 games to the 11 games back Nationals, the Phillies will face a much tougher opponent.
Fortunately, the Phillies will be back in front of their home crowd in what should be a raucous late August Citizens Bank Park. They will surely hear the boobirds if they can’t squeeze out any runs like Sunday.
And especially in the Wild Card race, this is a must-win series for the Phillies. Gabe Kapler and his squad are a pesky bunch, like a gnat in your ear.
It will be a bullpen day for San Francisco in Monday’s opener. And the Phillies will have Aaron Nola on the mound. This year, one can’t be sure what they will get Nola. But getting him on the right track will be important before the playoffs start.
The Phillies also need to ride the fan wave they have recently surfed on. The fans should make it feel like the playoffs in a series with two teams who could very well meet each other come October. The Phils need to ride on that energy like they have these last few weeks.
It should be a good atmosphere for the Phillies at the start of the week.
It’s up to them to take advantage of it and keep moving on their path to securing the top Wild Card spot.