Phillies

Phillies' bats perk up to avoid disaster in Atlanta

Phillies

The big bats in the middle of the Phillies’ order and one crucially important slide by Alec Bohm led the Phillies to a win in Sunday night’s exciting series finale in Atlanta.

With one out and Bohm on third base in the top of the ninth inning of a tie game, Didi Gregorius popped a ball up to shallow left field along the line. Marcell Ozuna camped under it and had momentum coming toward the plate. Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan made an aggressive (ballsy?) call to send Bohm and Bohm was safe by a hair. 

The ball beat Bohm to the plate but he slid just to the left of catcher Travis d’Arnaud’s tag and the Phillies won, 7-6.

The play was under review for several minutes and the Braves were not happy with the result. Some classy fans threw trash onto the field.

“We felt that we had a chance,” manager Joe Girardi said of the decision to send Bohm. “We talk about those things before the game. Dusty goes over all the analytics with the outfielders and their arms. We thought we had a shot. It was a narrow one and by the skin of his big toe that he scored.”

Gregorius didn't think his flyball had enough distance and threw his bat in frustration.

“I was surprised they sent him because I did not hit it deep enough,” he said. “I don’t think they had enough to overturn the call, I don’t know for sure because I’m not the umpire.”

 

The Phillies avoided a sweep, which may have been as important psychologically as it was in the win-loss column. They just swept the Braves at home last weekend and did not want to see all of that positivity erased in the span of a week.

Through nine games, the Phillies are 6-3 with a four-game series on tap against the Mets at Citi Field.

Team effort at the plate

Each Phillies hitter 2 through 7 was instrumental in this win. Rhys Hoskins homered, Bryce Harper hit his second longball in as many days, J.T. Realmuto manufactured a run by stealing third and scoring on a Jean Segura flyball, Bohm had that big double and slide in the ninth and Gregorius hit a three-run shot before the game-winning sac fly.

Hoskins’ homer was important in getting the Phillies back in the game in an inning when they’d take the lead. The most surprising stat of this young Phillies season is that Hoskins has not walked in 36 plate appearances. Hoskins, the guy who is routinely criticized around here for being too selective.

He’s hitting .306 through nine games with a .944 OPS.

Harper has homered in consecutive games, reached base in all nine and reached base multiple times in all but two.

It may not seem like Harper’s off to a hot start but he has a .447 OBP, as many walks as strikeouts and is squaring the ball up right now.

The ESPN broadcast had a good note on Harper: His 21 home runs since 2018 on pitches 95 mph or faster lead the majors.

The amazing Acuña

A week after Freddie Freeman went hitless in three games against the Phillies, he homered in three straight games against the Phillies.

Freeman wasn’t the star of this series, though. No, that was Ronald Acuña Jr., who dominated each game and was by far the best player on the field. Acuña was 9 for 13 in the series with two homers, three doubles, four RBI, four runs scored and two infield singles.

He set the tone in the series finale by legging out a routine groundball to shortstop and scoring on the next pitch when Ozzie Albies went deep.

That play left everyone astonished — both managers, the broadcasters, the fans. Acuña did it all in the series and put all five tools on display in a meaningful way.

How many better players are there currently? How many are you taking over Acuña if starting a franchise from scratch? 

Moore not sharp

Matt Moore encountered trouble in all five innings in his second start with the Phillies. He gave up three runs in the opening frame on Albies’ two-run shot and Dansby Swanson’s RBI single, then surrendered lone runs in the fourth and fifth innings after the Phillies had taken a two-run lead.

Moore has not pitched well in these first two starts. He’s put 17 men on base in 8⅓ innings. 

The first two innings of his first start were promising as he pounded the Mets inside with fastballs and cutters. He has not been able to command pitches in that spot since and has paid the price.

 

His next start should be Friday at home against the Cardinals, the first non-NL East or AL East team the Phillies will have seen since September 22, 2019.

Brogdon is the real deal

Connor Brogdon had another uneventful, 1-2-3 inning against the Braves. 

In his last 10 appearances and 13⅓ innings dating back to September 2020, Brogdon has a 0.00 ERA, a 0.52 WHIP and his opponents have hit .098.

More on him Monday. 

Bradley hits the IL

Archie Bradley was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday with an oblique strain to his front side. He does not know how much time he'll miss.

In the first game without Bradley, Girardi used Brogdon in the sixth inning, Sam Coonrod in the seventh, Jose Alvarado in the eighth and Hector Neris in the ninth.

Brogdon, Coonrod and Brandon Kintzler become even more important without Bradley.

Up next

The Phillies head to New York. The first three games are at 7:10 p.m. with a 12:10 p.m. finale Thursday.

It will be Chase Anderson and lefty David Peterson in Game 1. The Phillies hit Peterson hard at home last week.

Game 2 pits Aaron Nola against Taijuan Walker.

Zack Wheeler will pitch Game 3 for the Phillies and Zach Eflin will pitch the series finale Thursday afternoon.

The Mets have not yet named starters for Wednesday and Thursday but Thursday would be Jacob deGrom’s day in the rotation. Marcus Stroman recorded one out Sunday before the Mets-Marlins game was eventually rained out so he might start a game in this series after all.

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