Bryce Harper continued to swing a hot bat and Zach Eflin tossed a gem as the Phillies rolled over the Miami Marlins, 9-3, in Game 161 of the season Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies have beaten the lowly Marlins two nights in a row to put themselves over the .500 mark with one game remaining in the season. The Phils are 81-80. A win in Sunday’s season finale would give them their first winning season since the days of Jimmy, Chase, Ryan, Doc, Cole and Big Chuck back in 2011. A loss would give the Phillies their eighth straight non-winning season.
After seven relievers picked up 11 innings on Friday night — and with a bullpen game on tap Sunday — the Phillies needed Eflin to go deep into the game. He did just that. He scattered six hits over 7 2/3 innings and allowed just three runs, two of which came on a homer by the last batter he faced, Neil Walker, in the eighth. The homer came on Eflin’s 108th pitch.
The Marlins are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, ranking last in the majors in OPS (.673) and last in the NL in runs per game (3.80). Eflin capitalized by going right at the Marlins hitters. He threw 74 strikes (12 resulted in swing and misses) and allowed just three hard-hit balls. He continued to use his sinker the majority of the time, but also featured his slider, changeup, curveball and four-seamer.
Eflin’s season took a positive turn over the final five weeks as he began throwing his sinker more. He recorded a 2.83 ERA in 41 1/3 innings over his last seven starts.
The Phillies expect Eflin to hold down a rotation spot next season.
Harper’s hot bat
Harper has shown no let up as the season has moved toward the end. He doubled, tripled and drove in two runs in Friday night’s win. He smacked a three-run homer in this one. It was his 72nd extra-base hit of the season and his 35th homer. He has a career-high 114 RBIs.
Harper’s 35 homers are the most by a Phillie since 2009, when Ryan Howard had 45 and Jayson Werth 36.
Fifteen of Harper’s homers this season have come against left-handed pitching. The only lefty hitter with more homers against lefty pitching is Cody Bellinger with 18.
Also contributing …
Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco both homered for the Phillies and rookie catcher Deivy Grullon had an RBI double for his first big-league hit.
Hernandez and Franco could both be playing their final games with the Phillies on Sunday.
The Phils have hit 44 home runs in September. That ties the team mark for most in a month. The Phils hit 44 homers in June 2004.
Examination for Kingery
Scott Kingery’s offseason will begin with an eye exam on Monday. He’s been experiencing vision problems.
The Phillies and Marlins pull the curtain down on the 2019 season at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The Phillies will use a cast of relievers to get through the game. The Marlins will start right-hander Sandy Alcantara (5-14, 3.95).
The Phillies added right-hander Enyel De Los Santos to the active roster for the final two games.
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