On the 7th of May, the Philadelphia Phillies started a 7-game home stretch after a disappointing road trip. On the road the Phils went 2-4 taking one game each against the Marlins and Nationals. With shaky starting pitching and some cold bats, the classic “Phillies Slump” that we’ve all been accustomed to recently was starting to rear its ugly head. Luckily, after this home stand it looks as though the Phillies are a force to be reckoned with for the entire season.
Games 1-4 vs. San Francisco Giants
A wonderful start to a series is to win the first game 11-0. A scoring explosion of homeruns from the red hot Odubel Herrera (2), Cesar Hernandez, and Carlos Santana accounting for all of the RBIs led the Phillies past the Giants in game one. While the scoring is very noticeable in an 11-win game, the pitching provided by Zach Eflin set the tone for the whole series. Going 6.2 IP and striking out a career high 9 batters and only giving up 4 hits, Eflin dominated the Giants lineup.
In Game 2, the homerun trend continued with big flys from Altherr, Alfaro, and Santana, his second homer in as many games. Phillies ace, Aaron Nola had one of the best games of his career pitching 7 innings and striking out 12 batters whilst only allowing 1 run. The Phillies won this game 4-2 and looked to win the series the next game.
In Game 3, the scoring trend continues (HOW LONG CAN THIS LAST). With a solo homerun from Franco and 5 RBIs from Santana the Phils dominated the Giants 11-3. The pitching performance from starting pitcher, Nick Pivetta was the key to stifling the Giants hitters as he went 5 innings and striking out 7 batters and allowing no runs. This game, unfortunately, showed the lack of faith in the Phillies bullpen as Rios and Curtis gave up 3 runs in relief of Pivetta. The Phillies were riding a lot of momentum in this series and looked to sweep the Giants in game 4.
In Game 4, the Phillies successfully completed the sweep against the Giants winning 6-3. Vince Velasquez, who had been struggling all year, started off bad in this game as well. By giving up 3 quick runs through 2 innings, many Phillies fans (including me) were starting to give up on Vinny V. The Phillies offense was not content with winning 3 of 4 though. In the 4th inning the Phils scored 4 runs with help from a SLAMtana 3 run HR to take the lead. With the lead, Velasquez settled down and finished the game pitching 6 innings and striking out 12 batters. Santana set a franchise record with 13 RBIs in the series and Herrera raised his Batting Average to .353 which leads the MLB. Herrera has also extended his on base streak to an astounding 39 games. The Phillies outscored the Giants 32-8 over the 4 games and proved to themselves and to us fans, that they are here to stay this season.
Games 5-7 vs. New York Mets
Game 1 versus the Mets is a great example of great starting pitching ruined by our bullpen. Arrieta was mowing down the competition through 7.1 IP with 5 strikeouts and only allowing 5 hits. This quality start with an early 1-0 lead in the first inning from Herrera’s solo HR was looking to be an extension of our winning streak. Our closer Hector Neris was brought into the 9th and shortly gave up a solo HR and blew his save opportunity. With bad getting worse behind a now hostile (and probably drunk) crowd, Neris gave up another HR to the Mets to give them a 3-1 lead and eventually the win.
Game 2 was cancelled due to rain and Game 3 started with a rain delay. Game 3 was started by Aaron Nola against Jacob DeGrom. DeGrom was pulled after the first inning after allowing 3 walks and a passed ball; he was not ready to come back from his stint on the DL. Nola went 6 innings and struck out 4 batters but did give up a homerun to Cespedes in the 6th. Luckily for the Phils and Nola, Nick Williams hit a pinch hit 3 run HR in the bottom half of that same inning. Later in the 8th inning, Santana added to his hot streak by hitting an insurance solo HR. The Phillies won this game 4-2 and went 5-1 during this homestand which brings us 1 game back from the Braves.
Written by: Jack Cashman
Photo by: Rich Schultz/Getty Images