The Phillies leading into this series had just come off a bad major market meltdown by getting swept by the Dodgers and losing two of three to the Red Sox. The Phillies needed to right the ship, even if was only going to be a two-game series against the Blue Jays. The Phillies were sending their best two pitchers to get the job done in Nola and Wheeler. Both Nola and Wheeler are respectively third and fourth in the NL in innings pitched. The Phillies end up bashing the Blue Jays.
In a league nowadays that has struggled with starting pitchers going more than five innings on average, that is a good sign. The Phillies depend on their starting pitchers to go deep into games in order to sustain the health of their bullpen. In the first game of this series, Aaron Nola faced off against a former Cy Young finalist, Alec Manoah. And in the second game, Wheeler faced off against Gausman. These two games couldn’t be further opposite of how each team performed.
Nola vs. Manoah
In the first game, the Blue Jays got on top of the Phillies early, with a 1-0 lead after the second inning. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Phillies would respond in a big way, with a Castellanos two-run home run. The Phillies would continue to add to their lead with a Trea Turner RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning. This would give the Phillies a 3-1 lead going into the sixth inning, but one of the best hitters in the majors would cut into that lead in the top of the sixth inning.
Bo Bichette would hit a solo home run to trim the Phillies’ lead to one run. The Phillies would respond in the next half-inning by scoring two more runs, capped off by an RBI single by Edmundo Sosa. This game would continue to be a back-and-forth affair. Going into the top of the seventh inning, the Phillies bullpen would get a bit wild by hitting some batters and allowing the Blue Jays to once again trim their lead to one run.
Leading by only one run going into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Phillies would look to add some insurance runs onto their lead before going to their closer. The Phillies looked to their daycare in the form of Marsh and Stott. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Marsh would hit a two-run double, and Stott would follow that up with an RBI single. The Phillies would go on to win the first game of this series by a final score of 8-4.
Wheeler vs. Gausman
In game two of this series, it was not about the hitters; it was all about the pitchers. Both Wheeler and Gausman pitched excellent games and kept both lineups guessing. In fact, the game was such a pitching dual that Wheeler only made one mistake in the whole game, and almost cost his team the victory.
In the top of the fifth inning, Wheeler gave up a soft solo home run to Brandon Belt. Wheeler has always been a good pitcher, but its something about day games that Wheeler seems to perform at his best. Leading into the ninth inning, the Phillies were still down 1-0 to the Jays. Until the Phillies catcher, JT would show some late-game heroics by knocking in one run and forcing the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth inning, with Sosa standing on third base after a sac fly, the man Harper stepped to the plate with another crucial hit to give the Phillies the lead and the walk-off victory.
The Phillies bashing the Blue Jays would sweep Toronto and try to continue this three-game winning streak in Colorado on Friday evening. The Phillies need to string together some five-plus winning streaks together in order to get into a better position in their division. With more division games coming on the horizon, it is very important to close the gap between themselves and the Braves. The Phils, up to this point in the season, have played the most interleague games out of any team in the majors. This means more vital games are still ahead of the Fightins.