It wasn’t the prettiest series of the season, and it surely wasn’t the easiest. But the Phillies did what needed to get done—they proved themselves against one of the best pitchers in baseball. Excluding the series finale, timely hitting worked in their favor as they were able to snatch two wins in the three-game series to wrap up the homestand.
Zack Wheeler took the mound for the Phillies one day ahead of Sandy Alcantara’s start, making Tuesday s a must-win game for the Phillies. Wheeler did not have his best stuff, but he battled through six innings of one-run ball while having to use some of his secondary pitches in high-leverage spots.
After a two-out error committed by Bryan De La Cruz, J.T. Realmuto took advantage of the opportunity by hitting an RBI double down the left-field line. A few innings later, Realmuto hit a towering home run to left field.
Postgame, Rob Thomson told the media that he “…always thought [his power] was gonna come back. He’s so athletic and so strong, he’s in such great shape. It’s gonna be a while before the goes away, I would think.”
Jean Segura added on with a home run in the same inning, and Alec Bohm hit an RBI single in the fifth inning to make it a 4-1 game.
For the seventh time this season, Seranthony Dominguez pitched a quick ninth inning to record the save in game one’s victory.
Sandy Alcantara cruised through the first seven innings, and it seemed like a complete-game shutout would come with ease for the prospering right-hander. He has become one of the best pitchers in all of baseball over the past year and a half and is making a strong case to be the Cy Young award winner in 2022.
But in the eighth inning, the Phillies finally had a solid attack plan in place. A slow roller down the third-base line turned into a single for Jean Segura, and Bryson Stott followed by singling him into scoring position. Brandon Marsh hit one off the mound that eventually shot into centerfield.
From there, the top of the Phillies’ lineup kept it rolling.
Kyle Schwarber tied it up with a scorching line drive single, and J.T. Realmuto snuck a line drive past Marlins’ shortstop Miguel Rojas. The eighth-inning implosion led to the relief of Alcantara, but his dominance through the first seven innings should not be ignored.
Kyle Gibson got the start for the Phils in the final game of the homestand but was outdueled by Marlins’ youngster Edward Cabrera. Cabrera threw 5.2 scoreless innings for the Fish. Gibson also threw well, but an unearned run in the second inning gave the Marlins an early lead, and a sixth-inning rally extended their lead to three.
The Phillies had two runners on in the eighth and were unable to deliver. An inning later, they had the bases loaded with nobody out. But despite being in a great position to strike from behind, two strikeouts and a weak groundout on part of the Phillies ended the contest.
Credit the superhero
Noah Syndergaard, informally known as Thor, was not the hero in game two of this series. But he does deserve a boatload of credit for the Phillies’ comeback win. The veteran right-hander threw allowed two runs in six innings, striking out four.
Was it the type of performance we saw from Noah Syndergaard before he had surgery? No, it wasn’t.
Luckily, the Phillies were not in the market for that type of player. Syndergaard was brought in as a backend starter and has lived up to those expectations so far. He kept the Phillies in the game, giving his offense a chance to get something going against one of the best pitchers in the game. And that was exactly what they needed.
Kyle Schwarber’s exit
Kyle Schwarber was the Phillies’ lone active all-star this past July. He has given the Phillies an early lead thanks to a leadoff home run in multiple instances this season. But now, it looks like the big man is going to miss one of the most relevant series of the season.
Following the loss in game three, interim manager Rob Thomson told the media that Schwarber had a minor strain in his right calf.
While the hope was that he was just dehydrated or sick, it could have been way worse in the grand scheme of things. His injury shouldn’t put him on the injured list, but seeing him this weekend in New York would be a pleasant surprise.
Rob Thomson confirmed that Matt Vierling will start in his absence.
As I mentioned, the Phillies will take on the Mets in a crucial three-game series against the Mets beginning Friday.