Leading into this homestand, the Phillies needed to get off on the right foot with some much-needed victories over the Braves. The series would be mostly about pitching, even though both teams have high-powered offenses. In game one, the matchup of the strikeout king Strider would face off against another young gun Ranger Suarez. Game 2 would be postponed due to rain. Game three would have Aaron Nola going against Brice Elder. Braves sweep the Phillies in two-game series due to rainout.
One Game, No game, Two Game
In game one, the pitching dual between Strider and Suarez was as advertised. Ranger had his off-speed pitches dancing, and Strider was blowing away Phillies hitters with his 98 mph fastball. In this game, it would be about which pitcher will blink first. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nicky bats would hit an RBI single to drive in Marsh. Ranger had gone 17 innings without giving up a home run until the top of the sixth inning. A notorious Phillies killer came to bat in, Austin Riley.
Riley took Ranger’s yard and tied the game up at one apiece. The Braves have one of the best team offenses in the majors. It would be foolish to believe that one run would be all they get in this game. In the top of the seventh inning, both Acuna Jr. and Albies would hit RBI singles. Another Phillies killer would come to bat in the top of the eighth inning in Matt Olsen. Olsen would drive his ninth home run out of CBP in his career. The Phillies would tack on a garbage run in the bottom of the ninth with a sac fly by Clemons. But ultimately, the Phillies would lose to the Braves 4-2.
Mother Nature has always played havoc with some Phillies games, and for game two of this series, it would be postponed. The game will be made-up as a double-header in September. If the Phillies can hold close to the Braves in the division, that double-header could have a bigger impact on who wins this NL East division.
Nola Outing Waisted
In game three, Nola was coming into the game, having given up a home run in 11 straight games. Because this series went from a three-game series to a two-game series, it would be even more important for Nola to have a stellar game. Nola would come out of the gates firing by having an eight-pitch first inning, but Nola’s demons for the fourth inning would come around in this game. However, despite his struggles in the fourth, Nola got through it without giving up a run. This game would go into extra innings scoreless.
There were only four other games in all of the majors this season to go into extra innings scoreless. In the top of the tenth inning, the Braves would strike first with an RBI single by Harris. The Braves were up 1-0, which is manageable. Until a fielding blunder by Shwarber would allow Atlanta to score two more runs in the inning. But the Braves weren’t done kicking in the door in the inning. Marcell Ozuna would launch a two-run home run to put the Braves up by five. The Phillies would only score one run in the bottom of the tenth inning, and the Phillies would lose this one 5-1. Braves sweep the Phillies in two-game series.
Looking Towards the Future
Leading into this series, there were high hopes that we could take the series and gain some ground in the division, but instead, the Phillies once again showed how inconsistent their offense can be. With this batting order grossing close to a billion dollars in salary, it needs to play much better. The game two postponements could be a blessing in disguise, but it won’t matter if the Phillies are irrelevant. Leading into the Mets series, the Phillies need to get their offense back in rhythm. The Phillies have lost the last seven series to the Mets but can’t afford to lose this one. My key to the next series against the Mets is for the Phillies to focus on scoring as many runs as possible. This doesn’t just mean by the long ball, but by any means necessary. Also, Harper needs to get out of his own head and just relax at the plate. Know who you are, MV3.