The Phillies used a big day from the top of their order, and pitching that was JUST good enough to capture a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Offensively, the heavy lifting was provided by the first few hitters in their lineup. Rhys Hoskins remained hot, reaching base three times. He singled in the first and scored the Phillies’ first run thanks to a Carlos Santana sacrifice fly. The next two runs came courtesy of a home run by leadoff hitter Cesar Hernandez. And the final run was produced by a guy who has been red hot over the past few days.
One week ago, Phillies fans were hoping that Odubel Herrera was emerging from a vicious slump. Since then he’s 11 for 26, and his go-ahead home run in the seventh marked the fourth straight game in which he’s gone yard.
Think Odubel Herrera knew he homered in the seventh? #Phillies pic.twitter.com/t7Y98zslYz— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 20, 2018
Of course, scoring runs hasn’t really been the Phillies’ problem lately. They’ve had much more difficulty preventing the other team from scoring. And the main culprit has been the bullpen.
With Jake Arrieta getting the start, there was hope that the bullpen wouldn’t need much work. And while Arrieta was fine over his six innings (three runs allowed, all via Yadier Molina home run) the team still needed the relief corps to handle three innings.
It would have been nice if the relievers came in and dominated, but that’s not really how the Phillies’ bullpen works these days. The best we can hope for is that they simply don’t allow as many runs as the Phillies score.
The first reliever who attempted to clear this low bar was the debuting Austin Davis. It wasn’t a good sign when the first batter he faced singled, but he was able to rebound to get the next batter. Gabe Kapler decided that was enough work for him, so Edubray Ramos entered, and despite a passed ball and intentional walk, he was able to get the final two outs.
That level of competence gave Kapler enough faith to let Ramos stay in for another inning. And despite allowing two base runners, Ramos once again was able to keep the Cardinals off the board.
Remember how much fun it was to watch Victor Arano and Adam Morgan attempt to close out the game on Monday night? Kapler decided to use that combo again. Arano started the inning, and after he allowed a one-out double to Jedd Gyorko, Morgan was brought in to finish it off. Needless to say, fans were not confident at this point:
One out. Ninth-inning. Tying run on second. Genius Gabe Kapler bringing in Adam Morgan. He of the 4.66 ERA. What could go wrong? #Phillies— Doug Adams (@DougNBC) June 20, 2018
Adam Morgan going in.— Brian Conway (@bconway2) June 20, 2018
Phillies win percentage
To the surprise of many, Morgan retired the final two batters, and the Phillies were victorious!
With that, the Phillies have now won three straight series, giving them - and their beleaguered bullpen - a little bit of momentum heading into this weekend’s big series against the Nationals.