Phillies close out August with their 5th straight win, beat the Nats 12-6
What if I told you, that a Phillies team without Rhys Hoskins, JT Realmuto, Didi Gregorius, and Zach Eflin, would record 18 hits and score 12 runs in a ball game to win their fifth consecutive game and pull within 2.5 games of the National League East leading Atlanta Braves and 2.5 games within the second NL Wild Card spot? Trust me, it feels really bizarre even writing those words, but here we are. The Phillies beat the Nationals 12-6 last night, scoring seven runs or more in their sixth consecutive game. They enter September in the midst of a divisional and Wild Card race and somehow, some way, are scoring a lot of runs.
The production of course, all revolves around one man. Bryce Harper wrapped up a month of August last night in which he batted .337 with 11 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, and 25 RBIs. His OPS was 1.231 in the month of August alone and he leads the MLB this season with a 1.014 OPS. Last night, he was 3-for-5 with two RBI and a walk. If the Phillies keep winning, there is absolutely no reason that the he shouldn’t win the National League MVP at the end of the season.
Outside of Harper, last night’s lineup left a lot to be desired. Freddy Galvis was batting leadoff for the first time in two years. Jorge Bonifacio is a 28 year old journeyman. Matt Vierling is a rookie outfielder that was playing first base for the first time in his career. Ronald Torreyes has struggled the entire month of August and Rafael Marchan was behind the plate catching for Matt Moore.
For a team like the Phillies in the midst of a division and Wild Card race, the lineup hardly gave anyone a boost of confidence.
The game started out as we expected. Lance Thomas hit an RBI double for the Nationals in the first. Phillies killer Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI double in the bottom of the third. Luis Garcia then followed with a ground-rule double to score Zimmerman. The Nationals had a 3-0 lead and Matt Moore looked like Matt Moore on the mound. Moore would end the night only throwing 3.1 innings, allowing six hits, five earned runs, and five walks, while striking out two. He has a 6.49 ERA on the season.
In the top of the fourth inning, Bryce Harper stepped up to the plate. The Nationals defense went into a shift, leaving the third base completely open. Harper hit one of the most perfect bunts I have ever seen down the third base line for single.
The biggest problem for the Phillies without Rhys Hoskins in the lineup is protection for guys like Bryce Harper in the middle of the order. That problem increases when guys like JT Realmuto are also not in the lineup. Didi Gregorius has played terrible this year and was hardly a threat to pitchers batting behind Harper. Andrew McCutchen, who has also struggled for long periods of time throughout the year, hadn’t been much better. Granted, Cutch has been battling injuries all season as well.
Last night however, Andrew McCutchen looked healthy and his performance at the plate was clear evidence. With the Phillies down 3-0 to a miserable Nationals team, Cutch destroyed a ball to deep left field, for his 22nd home run of the season and just like that, we had ourselves a ball game. McCutchen finished the night going 2-for-4 from the plate with three RBI.
Before exiting the game, Matt Moore gave up a home run to Carter Kieboom. For Kieboom, who is slowly becoming one of those players that just always kills the Phillies, it was his sixth home run of the year and fourth against the Phillies. Jorge Bonifacio got a run back for the Phillies on a soft ground ball to Patrick Corbin in the top of the fifth inning. Entering the sixth, the Phillies were now down two runs. Rafael Marchan, who has one career home run, at any level of baseball, hit is second career home run to tie the ball game.
The Marchan home run really got things moving for the Phillies, who were given a much needed jolt of energy. Bryce Harper hit a two-run to right field, Cutch doubled for his third RBI of the night, and Odubel Herrera singled in cutch to end the sixth for the Phillies.
In the top of the ninth, Brad “All I do is hit home runs” Miller hit a two-run home run, his 15th of the year to extend the Phillies lead to 11-6. The Phillies would add one more run on a wild pitch to score Jean Segura in the inning.
Bailey Falter, Sam Coonrod, Jose Alvarado, and Hector Neris all through shutout innings in relief for the Phillies. Enyel De Los Santos, of course, was the only bullpen arm to let up a run last night when the game was already out of reach. 12-6 final. Five straight wins for the Fightins. Onto September we go.
Special shoutout to Matt Vierling, who was thrusted into last night’s lineup and playing first base for the first time in his career. Vierling went 4-for-5 from the plate and scored two runs for the Phillies.
Mandatory Credit: The Philadelphia Phillies