One month ago, Odubel Herrera looked like a lock for the All-Star game. He was leading the National League in batting average and had put together a 45 game streak of reaching base safely.
Two weeks ago, it looked like Herrera had no shot at the All-Star game. He was mired in a slump that saw his average plummet by over 60 points, and there were times when you wondered if he would ever reach first base safely again.
The 2018 All-Star Game will be played in Washington, and on Friday night, Herrera showed the DC fans that they should definitely expect to see him there. He went 4-5 including a home run, which marked the fifth straight game in which he’s gone deep. Herrera’s big game - along with big games by several of his teammates - powered the Phillies to an easy 12-2 win over the Nationals.
Odubel is unstoppable right now. 4-2 Phillies. pic.twitter.com/CWbexy9Hzs— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) June 23, 2018
In my series preview, I mentioned that Nationals starter Tanner Roark has had some strong starts against the Phillies, and also some poor ones. This one will definitely be filed into the poor category, as he allowed six runs in his 4.1 innings. The relievers who followed him didn’t fare much better, as the Phillies scored runs in six different innings.
Aside from Herrera, the biggest bat belonged to Carlos Santana. His two-run single started the onslaught in the first inning, and he added a two-run homer in the sixth. Nick Williams chipped in with three RBI, and Andrew Knapp had a two-run shot of his own.
Carlos Santana makes it 8-2 Phillies. I love him. pic.twitter.com/IWnVDM1gh8— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) June 23, 2018
Starting pitcher Zach Eflin wasn’t superb, but thanks to his offense, he didn’t need to be. He allowed two runs in five innings before a high pitch count forced him from the game.
In recent weeks, counting on the Phillies’ bullpen to handle four innings is a frightening proposition, but a combination of Austin Davis, Yacksel Rios, and Zac Curtis were able to finish off the game without incident.
After weeks of nail-biting wins and agonizing losses, it was nice to see the Phillies blow somebody out. And if Herrera, Santana, and the rest of the hitters can continue to produce like they did on Friday, it won’t be the last one we see.