December 10, 2023

Phillies only manage to take one of four in Miami


AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

This surely isn’t the first time you have seen this headline over the last three seasons. Once again, the Phillies failed to perform up to par against the Marlins.

Game summaries

The first game of this series resulted in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss. Kyle Gibson had good stuff, but the Marlins had some lucky hits that were poked down the line for base hits. A few of these in a row gave the Marlins a 4-1 lead.

Sandy Alcantara was excellent for the Marlins. He went 6.1 innings and allowed just two runs. Aside from Steven Okert, the Marlins bullpen was perfect, and they were able to hold the Marlins’ lead.

The Phillies relievers—Andrew Bellatti, James Norwood, Brad Hand, and Jeurys Familia—did their job of keeping the Phillies within reach, but the offense could not deliver enough. Bryce Harper, the producer of all three Phillies runs, ripped a double in the seventh to bring the Phillies within one, but it was not enough to make a comeback.

Following that frustrating one-run loss the night before, the Phillies continued to struggle.

Zach Eflin was on the bump for the Phillies, and he allowed four runs over four innings of work. He had trouble keeping consistent command of the strike zone, and his off-speed pitches were not breaking to the extent that they usually do.

For the Fish, Pablo Lopez toed the rubber. He tossed 5.1 scoreless innings which lined him up for the win. He has built off of his 2021 season by bringing that success into 2022. Despite only starting two games so far, he owns an ERA of 0.87.

The Phillies’ offense was silent until the eighth inning. Nick Castellanos took Marlins’ reliever Shawn Armstrong deep to put the Phillies on the board. The aspect of Friday’s game that is hard to understand is that they had 11 base runners, yet they scored just one run.

The Nick Nelson saga also came to an end, for he allowed two runs in the fifth inning and another run in the sixth.

The excitement began in game three. Ranger Suarez took the mound for the Phightins, and Trevor Rodgers threw for Miami.

The Phillies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Nick Castellanos came through with a delayed steal, and Bryce Harper strolled home to extend the Phillies’ lead. The Phillies kept it going in the second inning. They put up six runs in the second thanks to doubles from Matt Vierling and Bryce Harper. Alec Bohm also contributed to the rally by shooting an RBI single into right field. Trevor Rodgers threw 63pitches and lasted just 1.2 innings.

Ranger Suarez looked like his old self for all but one pitch on Saturday. In the fifth inning, Jorge Soler hit a moonshot into the concourse in left field. Besides that one mistake, he was near perfect. His pitches had plenty of life, and he used his ability to keep the ball down in the zone as an advantage.

Once again, the Phillies bullpen came up clutch. They allowed just one run over four innings. Avisail Garcia lifted a home run into the stands to give the Marlins their third run of the evening.

While we got to see multiple RBIs from Johan Camargo, Alec Bohm, and Bryce Harper, we also had to see Bryson Stott strike out five times on Saturday. This dropped his season average down to .154, so he took a rest during Sunday’s game.

In blowout fashion, the Phillies took down the Marlins with a final score of 10-3.

Unfortunately, there was no excitement in the final of four games in this series. Zack Wheeler made his second start of the season on Easter Sunday, and he was nothing short of atrocious. Wheeler threw three-plus innings and allowed seven runs on eight hits. His fastball velocity was much lower than usual, and he had no command. He walked three batters and hit one. He struggled to keep his strikes out of the middle of the zone, and the Marlins capitalized on fastballs down the middle by hitting them the other way down the line.

Christopher Sanchez relieved Wheeler with nobody out and the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Sanchez allowed a two-run single but got three quick outs to follow. Throughout the final five innings, the Marlins were able to tack on four more runs to prevent the Phillies from coming back.

Besides Bryce Harper (3-5, home run, RBI double) and Kyle Schwarber (2-4, single, home run), the Phillies could not get their offense going. Ultimately, they weren’t able to even out the series as they lost the final game of the series 11-3.

What’s the deal with Alec Bohm?

Alec Bohm, arguably the hottest hitter on the Phillies, only started one game this series. Why? Well, the Phillies fans have been wondering the exact same thing.

It is no secret that Bohm struggles defensively at the hot corner, but does that mean that he shouldn’t start? Not necessarily. Even though Bohm struggled in 2021, he is 7-11 at the plate in 2022. Right now, his bat is too valuable to get just four to eight at-bats per series.

On Saturday, Joe Girardi slated Bohm into the lineup as the designated hitter. Unfortunately, this isn’t a spot that is going to always be vacant since the Phillies have three corner outfielders; so, they are forced to have one of them be the DH.

Joe Girardi did inform the media that Bohm would get another opportunity at third base, but he also mentioned that it will be after Bohm receives additional instruction from the Phillies’ coaching staff.

Matt Vierling records three hits

Matt Vierling started the season off 0-15, but he could have finally found his groove. He was 3-6 in this series with an RBI double. These three hits brought his season average up to .143.

With Odubel Herrera and Mickey Moniak returning from injury shortly, it is hard to tell how much longer Vierling will be the everyday centerfielder. But at this point, the more he hits, the higher of a chance there is that he stays with the big-league club!

Wheeler’s struggles

Zack Wheeler was bad. There isn’t much more to add.

Many people are wondering why his velocity was so low. There are many reasons why this could be occurring, but the most reasonable explanation is the atypical circumstances. Wheeler came into an already shortened Spring Training fatigue, and then he came down with the flu a few days into camp. Once he passed both of those obstacles, his first start of Spring Training was canceled because of the inclement weather.

This could easily justify his lack of velocity and command. Overall, the good sign was that his pitches seemed to have the usual break.

Hopefully, Zack Wheeler will return to his Cy Young-caliber form within his next few starts, especially since the Phillies are heavily depending on Wheeler to be the face of the Phillies’ 2022 pitching staff.

Trickery on the basepaths

There are not many positives to take out of this series, but one highlight was Bryce Harper’s steal of home during the first inning of Saturday night’s contest.

It all began when Nick Castellanos initiated a delayed steal. Jacob Stallings popped and threw to the second base bag, but Nick Castellanos was less than halfway down the line. Jon Berti, the second baseman, was only focused on Castellanos. He chased Castellanos back to first base and dove to try and catch him. Meanwhile, Harper took off towards home once Berti committed to tagging Castellanos. Berti ended up colliding with the first baseman causing both Harper and Castellanos to be safe.

Fun, am I right?

Leave a Reply