It was a weird weekend at the Bank, but the Phillies strung together a few well-rounded team-wins, widening the gap between themselves and the Brewers in the Wild Card race. The bottom of the lineup continued producing, and the Phillies’ pitching showed clear signs of improvement in various ways.
Seranthony Dominguez made his first appearance since being reinstated from the injured list, and Rob Thomson announced that Zach Eflin would return to the bullpen following Sunday night’s win.
While the Phillies might have only gotten three wins added to their record this weekend, it felt like they earned way more than just three; two of their better pitchers returned to the team, and the Phillies played cleaner and more fundamentally sound than we’ve seen in the past weeks.
On Friday, the Phillies showed glimpses of a playoff team in their game-one victory, which was a true all-around team win.
Noah Syndergaard earned his ninth win of the season, allowing three runs in six innings. Andrew Bellatti and Jose Alvarado each threw an inning out of the bullpen, and Nick Nelson notched his first career save after coming in with two on and two out in the ninth.
Three different Phillies players recorded RBI, and each of the Phils’ starters had at least one hit. J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins each hit solo homers, and Dalton Guthrie recorded his first major-league hit with an RBI single in his first at-bat. While only five runs crossed the plate, the Phillies made a lot of hard contact that ended up being outs.
For the second night in a row, the Phillies had a huge all-around team win. The entire lineup produced, and the Phillies continued scoring throughout the night.
After Joey Meneses homered in the top of the third, Bryce Harper homered to the opposite field, his first home run since returning from the injured list.
The Phillies continued adding on as the game progressed. Brandon Marsh had three hits and two RBI, Nick Maton had a two-run homer, and Kyle Schwarber capped off the scoring with a long solo home run into the Nats’ bullpen.
Ranger Suarez went deeper into the game than he has in his recent starts, but the fatigue was still clear. He allowed two runs in the seventh inning and had to give way to Andrew Bellatti to get the final out.
It was another rough outing for Connor Brogdon, but luckily, he had four runs to work with. He struck out Nelson Cruz with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, ending the win despite another shaky ninth inning.
Game three, one of the oddest games we’ve played all year, finally ended in the Phillies’ favor. The first two innings of the game were played, but a three-hour, thirty-six-minute delay pushed the start of the third inning to 5:35pm ET.
When the game resumed with the Phillies up one, Christopher Sanchez relieved Aaron Nola, who threw two scoreless innings despite some early struggles. Again, Sanchez struggled with his command and let his off-speed pitches leak over the plate. He lasted just three innings and allowed four runs on seven hits.
With a rally brewing in the fifth, Rhys Hoskins snapped the second-longest home-run drought of his career with a game-tying, three-run home run. With the game tied again in the seventh, Alec Bohm barreled a line-drive homer to the opposite field, giving the Phillies a lead.
With an extra day of rest, a replenished David Robertson got the win and save to secure the series sweep in Philadelphia.
Consistency is always a good thing in sports. And quite frankly, consistency is usually a good thing in general.
Unfortunately, though, the Phillies have failed to remain consistent throughout the season, but it looks like they could finally be finding a rhythm.
The Phillies have a deeper bullpen with the return of Seranthony Dominguez, and everyone has a role that fits them better. Rob Thomson has been getting results from all players and positions in his lineup, making some of the decisions he’ll be forced to make even harder.
In game one, each Phillies starter recorded a hit, and the Phillies had 13 total hits as a team. Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, and Bryce Harper all snapped homerless streaks during this series, but the Phillies still aren’t relying on one at-bat or one player to create all the offense.
And against the Nationals, they have been more than consistent. The Phillies have won 21 of the last 23 games played against Washington, contributing to their league-worst winning percentage.
Pitching reinforcements on the way
Finally, a shaky bullpen is getting some help, and it is coming just at the right time.
The Phillies announced that they were reinstating Seranthony Dominguez from the IL ahead of Sunday’s game, and Rob Thomson told the media that Christopher Sanchez would be optioned to triple-A to allow Zach Eflin to be activated from the 60-day injured list.
Dominguez was put on the shelf after discovering tendonitis in his triceps. The righty threw a scoreless inning in his forty-seventh appearance of the season on Sunday, lowering his season ERA to 1.6. Prior to his injury, Dominguez was used to face the best part of the opponent’s order in their last at-bats, and it seems that he’ll resume that role.
Zach Eflin made 13 starts earlier this season but has been banged up with an off-and-on knee injury over the past two seasons. Though his 3-5 record and 4.37 ERA do not impress, Eflin has been much better when he’s fully healthy, which has not been often in 2022. He will assume a role as the long-man in the Phillies’ bullpen with Cris Sanchez being optioned to Lehigh Valley.
While it was a huge disappointment to lose these two in the first place, they could not be returning at a more ideal time. Connor Brogdon had a 4.5 ERA in August, and his September has gone no better. David Robertson and Brad Hand, the two veterans in the Phillies’ bullpen are showing clear signs of fatigue as the season grows old.
On Tuesday, the Phillies will travel to Miami for their last series of the season with the Marlins.