20 Games Over .500 and The Best In Baseball In Mid May

 

Friday

Zack Wheeler struck out six over 7 1/3 innings and the Phillies continued their scorching start with a 4-2 victory over the Nationals on Friday night. The Phillies needed just 2 hours, and 15 minutes in front of another jam-packed crowd of 44,507 to improve to 32-14, the best record in baseball.

Wheeler (5-3) received a rousing standing ovation when he was lifted with one out in the eighth inning. He allowed two runs and threw 104 pitches to win his fifth straight decision. Wheeler improbably went 0-3 over his first four starts — and the Phillies lost all four games — before he resumed his spot as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

The right-hander has been outshined at times this season by lefty Ranger Suárez and his 8-0 record, but there’s still no other pitcher the Phillies want on the bump for a big game.

Dolans Wiffleball 2024
Dolans Wiffleball 2024

Wheeler had his seventh quality start of the season and his 71st with the Phillies. He is tied with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole for the most quality starts in the major leagues since 2020. Wheeler has a 1.62 ERA with 525 strikeouts in 477 2/3 innings over that span. Jeff Hoffman worked the ninth for his third save.

On a gorgeous night for baseball, and with a stadium that sold out early in part because of a Bryson Stott bobblehead promotion, Wheeler and the Phillies were never in danger against the overmatched Nationals.

The Ending

The homer-happy Phillies didn’t even need to go deep in this one. Alec Bohm and Brandon Marsh each had RBI doubles off Nationals starter Jake Irvin (2-4).

Brandon Marsh scored on a wild pitch and Kyle Schwarber added an RBI groundout. That’s a nondescript way to win a game for a team that is usually thrilled on its way to winning six of its last eight games. Irvin allowed four runs and five hits in five innings.

The Nationals send LHP Mackenzie Gore (2-4, 3.38 ERA) to the mound against Phillies LHP Cristopher Sánchez (2-3, 3.43)

Saturday

Bryce Harper hit a game-winning sacrifice fly in the 10th inning after Kody Clemens tied it with a home run with two outs in the ninth, lifting the Phillies to a 4-3 victory over the Nationals on Saturday night.

Bryson Stott also homered for Philadelphia, which has won or split each of its last 14 series. The Phillies (33-14) have the most wins in baseball and will go for the three-game series sweep on Sunday.

CJ Abrams and Idemaro Vargas each had three hits for the Nationals, who have lost four straight and six of seven. With runners on second and third and one out in the 10th, Harper drove a 1-2 splitter from Washington closer Kyle Finnegan (1-3) into center field to drive in Johan Rojas. The two-time MVP threw both hands in the air when he reached first base, where he was mobbed by teammates.

Oh My

Finnegan retired the first two batters in the ninth before Clemens drove a 1-0, 98 mph fastball into the seats in right-center. In limited action this season, Clemens is 7 for 23 (.304) with a double, three homers, and eight RBI.

Finnegan entered tied for the major-league lead with 13 saves and had his second blown save. Gregory Soto (1-1) pitched a scoreless top of the 10th. The Nationals went ahead 3-2 in the top of the ninth. With two outs and runners on second and third, Jesse Winkler drove the first pitch off Orion Kerkering to center field to score pinch-runner Nasim Nuñez. 

Eddie Rosario kept the inning alive by beating out a potential double play one batter earlier. The play was reviewed, but first-base umpire Nick Mahrley’s safe call was confirmed by replay. The game was delayed 26 minutes at the start due to rain on a cool, misty evening in Philadelphia.

After the Nationals went up 2-1 in the fifth on Abrams’ RBI single to right, Stott tied it in the seventh with a drive to right field that ended the night for starter MacKenzie Gore.

Pitching

Gore didn’t allow a hit until Harper’s leadoff single to start the fourth and left after surrendering two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. The lefty lowered his ERA to 2.91.

Washington started the game with three straight singles off Cristopher Sánchez, the last of which was an RBI hit by Joey Meneses. Sánchez settled down after that, giving up two runs and eight hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. Phillies lefty Matt Strahm kept the Nationals off the board in the eighth to extend his scoreless streak to 18 ⅔ consecutive innings, with 30 strikeouts and one walk on the season.

The teams wrap up their three-game series on Sunday when Philadelphia RHP Aaron Nola (5-2, 3.10) opposes Nationals RHP Trevor Williams (4-0, 1.94).

Sunday

 Alec Bohm homered and drove in five runs, Bryce Harper doubled and had two RBI and the Phillies swept their sixth series of the season with an 11-5 victory over the Nationals on Sunday.

Kody Clemens had a pair of doubles and two RBI for Philadelphia (34-14), which has the most wins in the majors. The Phillies tied their franchise record for the best start in the first 48 games, matching the 1976 and 1993 clubs.

The Phillies have won or tied each of the last 14 series, and they matched their season-best from last season of 20 games over .500. Jesse Winker and Eddie Rosario homered for the Nationals, who ended an 11-day, nine-game road trip by losing their fifth straight and seventh in their last eight games, including the last three to Philadelphia.

Aaron Nola (6-2) allowed two earned runs on two hits with five strikeouts and three walks in seven innings. It was Nola’s 100th quality start since the beginning of 2018. He was coming off his fourth major league shutout. The Phillies went ahead with four runs in the fifth off Trevor Williams and two relievers.

Williams was lifted after a one-out walk to Kyle Schwarber, and the Phillies loaded the bases off Jacob Barnes (2-1) when Bryson Stott walked and Harper singled. Bohm’s second sacrifice fly of the day tied the game at 3. Bohm said a combination of preparation and remaining calm has resulted in him batting .330 with 42 RBI, and Philadelphia has been getting production throughout its lineup.

White Hot

Martinez replaced Barnes with Robert Garcia, and Clemens promptly put Philadelphia ahead for good with a two-run double to right. Clemens was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley after shortstop Trea Turner suffered a left hamstring strain on May 3. In 11 games, Clemens is 9 for 28 (.321) with three doubles, a triple, three home runs and 10 RBI.

Nick Castellanos followed Clemens’ hit with an RBI single, and Harper’s two-run double an inning later made it 8-3. Harper was robbed of a fourth hit, which likely would’ve gone for extra bases and scored two more runs when center fielder Jacob Young leaped against the wall in left-center to snare the two-time MVP’s drive. Bohm followed with a three-run shot to pad the advantage.

Washington went in front 3-2 on Winker’s one-out solo shot to right in the fifth. Winker also made two stellar defensive plays, the first of which was a running, diving catch to rob Bohm of a hit leading off the second. With one out in the fourth, Winker leaped against the wall to take extra bases away from Brandon Marsh for the second out, banging his right knee into the padding in the process.

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

Previous

Next