December 3, 2023

Phillies salvage final game in Colorado, but still lose series to end road trip


Yong Kim/Philadelphia Inquirer

Once again, the Phillies have let us down. The Phils lost the last two of three in Colorado to end their road trip. While there were many problems throughout the series, a lack of offense continued to show.

Game summaries

In game one, the Phillies could not get anything going at the dish. It took until the bottom of the seventh inning for the Phillies to put a run on the board.

Aaron Nola was on the bump Monday. He surrendered two runs over 5.1 innings on the hill. Even though it counts as a loss on his stat sheet, it was an excellent sign for Nola’s progression. He threw 84 pitches and was able to use his curveball as a good pitch early in at-bats. Of his four strikeouts, only one came from his curveball.

The Rockies only needed a home run from Charlie Blackmon, a wild pitch, and a double from Randal Grichuk to take a four-to-nothing lead. In the bottom of the seventh, Didi Gregorius pinch-hit for Matt Vierling, and he doubled down the line to get the Phillies back within three. Unfortunately, the offense could not brew anything else, so the Phillies were handed a 4-1 loss in game one.

Tuesday, the Rockies were going for the series win, and a comeback victory granted that to them. Kyle Freeland was on the mound for Colorado. Earlier that day, Freeland signed a multi-million dollar extension with the Rockies, so there is no doubt that his confidence was at an all-time high heading into his start.

In the top of the first, the reigning MVP hit an RBI single, and Matt Vierling followed with his own RBI single in the fourth inning. The Rockies came back and eventually took the lead, but Kyle Schwarber responded by taking a 1-1 sinker into the left field bleachers.

Kyle Gibson, the Phillies’ starter for game two, had his luck against him Tuesday. Just one ball was hit on the screws, but a few weak groundballs found holes in the infield allowing the Rockies to put three runs on the board in the fourth inning.

Freeland threw five total innings, and he allowed just two runs to cross the plate. By no means was this his smoothest start, but he got the job done for the Rockies.

Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies led the Rockies by one. With two outs and two on, Joe Girardi brought Jeurys Familia into the game to relieve Seranthony Dominguez. Just one batter in, C.J. Cron took Familia yard to give the Rockies the lead.

Kyle Schwarber singled J.T. Realmuto in during the top of the eighth, but it was not enough to sprout a rally.

Corey Knebel came in at the end of the game to get some work late in the game, but the Phillies could not score in the ninth.

Luckily, the Phillies were able to salvage the final game of this three-game series on Wednesday. Zach Eflin started the game for the Phillies. It was not his best start, but he got the Phillies through 5.2 innings.

A double from Ryan McMahon gave the Rockies an early lead, but the Phillies’ offense was firing on all cylinders. Nick Castellanos and Alec Bohm both hit home runs in the fourth inning, but a sac fly and RBI single in the bottom of the fifth put the Rockies back in control. An inning later, the red-hot Kyle Schwarber went deep to tie the game at four.

An offensive explosion led by Johan Camargo’s three-run home run gave the Phillies a healthy lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Ultimately, Corey Knebel earned his second save of the season, and the Phillies won game three nine to six.

Can Kyle Schwarber stay hot?

The Phillies signed Kyle Schwarber with high expectations, and they expected him to be the first Phillie to be locked in as a leadoff hitter since Andrew McCutchen in 2019. Yet, he was bumped down in the order after just ten games in a Phillies uniform and a horrible start to his 2022 campaign.

Now, Schwarber is finally performing the way the fans expected. Schwarber was 5-11 in the Rockies series, and he left the park twice. This is a great sign for the left-handed slugger, for he struggled reading pitches at the beginning of the season. Schwarber appeared to be much more comfortable and patient at the plate.

With the Phillies going into a tough series against the Brewers, Kyle Schwarber will play a key role in the outcome.

Bullpen struggles

The Phillies’ bullpen was a question mark heading into 2022. For better or worse, it still is.

The Phillies have been heavily relying on Jeurys Familia and Seranthony Dominguez, and they both struggled in Colorado. Of course, Coors Park is not a pitcher-friendly park, and that could definitely be a factor. Although, Familia allowed the home run to C.J. Cron, and Dominguez was unable to get out of the seventh inning as he allowed two runs on Friday. In the series, these two allowed a combined five earned runs over just two innings of work.

This might not seem important since it was only two innings, but it cannot be overlooked. We have seen many make-or-break teams broken by their bullpens; especially, in Philadelphia.

Johan Camargo and Alec Bohm stay hot

Johan Camargo, possibly the most underrated signing of the offseason, lit up the box score Wednesday. He was 4-5 with a three-run home run. Camargo is now hitting .382 on the season, and he carries an OPS of .946.

Camargo will be a very valuable player for this team in the long run. He is very versatile as he plays a variety of positions on the diamond. When injuries occur, which they (unfortunately) will, Camargo’s ability to get on base and play multiple positions will be key late in the season.

Bohm cannot be stopped. He is hitting .476 with an OPS of 1.197. Even though his defense is still an issue, his bat is too hot to keep out of the lineup. Bohm even went deep for the first time in 2022 in the last game of this series.

The Phillies will return to Citizen’s Bank Park on Friday to open a series against the Brewers.

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