On the last day of May, the Philadelphia Phillies were killed 11-1 by the Cincinnati Reds. They finished the month four games under .500 and in third place in the National League East, five games out of first place.
The next day, the calendar flipped to June and before that night’s game in Cincinnati, Phillies players talked about the importance of hitting a symbolic reset button.
They went out and laid a 17-3 beating on the Reds that night.
Afterward, Alec Bohm revealed what was talked about in the clubhouse before that game.
“New month. Deep breath. Let’s go,” he said. “What happened the first two months is in the past. We’re moving forward. Go out and dominate the month.”
So far, the Phillies have done that.
They completed a two-game sweep of the New York Yankees with a 7-0 win at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon to run their record to 7-2 in June.
The Phillies’ streak of three straight walk-off victories came to an end Sunday, not that anyone was angry about it or anything. After Hector Neris had blown saves forcing the team to rally in the 10th inning in the previous two games, everyone was ready for a nice, easy, breezy win and Aaron Nola and the bats delivered. Nola pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings and the offense produced 12 hits.
Here’s three takeaways:
Nola gets back on track with dominant outing
Nola has not pitched up to his standards most of the season. He’s struggled with command of his fastball and run high pitch counts. The right-hander carried an ERA of 5.68 in his previous six starts into Sunday’s outing. He seemed genuinely discouraged after his previous start in which he allowed seven hits, including two homers, and four runs over five innings in a loss to Atlanta.
Nola found it all in this one. He held the Yankees to three hits and a walk over his 7 2/3 innings. He struck out nine. He threw 103 pitches, 75 of which were strikes. Nola featured three pitches: four-seam fastball, curveball, and changeup. All were sharp. He got five swings and misses on the fastball, eight on the curveball, and two on the changeup, which was an excellent complement to the fastball and curveball.
Offense scores a touchdown with an extra point
Offensively, the Phillies are getting hits and cutting down on strikeouts. They have not homered in three straight games but have 35 hits in those contests. Often plagued by strikeouts, Phillies hitters had just five Sunday and 17 in the last three games.
The top of the order continues to produce. Odubel Herrera had two more hits in the leadoff spot and scored two runs. Segura, the number two hitter, had two RBIs to go with his three hits. J.T. Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen both had two hits and two RBIs.
The squad as a whole had 12 hits. The Phils had at least 10 hits against the opposing team’s starter, it’s the first time all season that’s happened.
At 32-31, the Phils are over .500 for the first time since May 19 and in second place in the NL East.
The Phillies are playing some of their best ball of the season as they head to the West Coast for three against the Los Angeles Dodgers, beginning Monday night, and three against the San Francisco Giants later in the week.
It’s a big test for the Phils. But after a 6-2 homestand, they seem ready for it.