Are you enjoying this team yet? I sure hope so, because this is the most exciting baseball the Phillies have played since 2011.
The Phillies capped off another series win today, beating the Dodgers 7-3 just hours after an exciting walk-off 16th inning win. The Phillies are now 4-2 since the All-Star Break and sit atop the NL East by 1.5 games (the Braves were idle today).
Of course, with the Phillies this year, the defense did what it could to undermine the team. It started, as it has often done this year when Jake Arrieta is on the mound, in the first inning, with Andrew Knapp making two throwing errors on Dodgers’ attempts to steal second base. It didn’t help that Arrieta had given up a single and a walk to the first two batters of the game, but Knapp’s first throwing error put men on first and third with no outs. A Matt Kemp fly-ball put the Dodgers in the early lead, 1-0.
From there, Arrieta cruised until the sixth inning. With Manny Machado on third and two outs in the first, Arrieta induced an easy ground ball to the pitcher and got out of the inning with no further damage. And in the next four innings, Arrieta faced only 2 batters above the minimum. The defense tried valiantly to gift the Dodgers another opportunity in the fifth, when Jesmuel Valentin threw an easy grounder into the dugout. But then something odd happened — Knapp almost completely missed catching an Arrieta pitch (which then hit the umpire in the throat, a scary moment but he was ok) but recovered to throw a bullet to third which just barely beat Kike Hernandez to the bag.
Meanwhile, the Phillies offense was doing what it does best - wearing down opposing pitchers. Unlike with his defense, Knapp, batting leadoff, started the day off with an incredible plate appearance. Even though he eventually struck out, it took 13 pitches before he looked at strike 3. From there, the Phillies hitters took over with the classic formula for scoring runs — getting on base and big hits.
Rhys Hoskins started it off in the first with a huge home run to the stands in center field. Scott Kingery put the Phillies ahead with a line drive homer to right field in the fifth. The Phillies batted around that inning, featuring a run-scoring double from Knapp, and a bases-clearing triple from Carlos Santana. The Phillies lead 6-1 at that point.
After the late night last night, the Phillies were hoping to get 7 innings from Arrieta, but he was done after the sixth. In that inning, he let up a lead-off double to Joc Pederson and then a one-out home run to Max Muncy. He completed the inning with no further damage but was done for the day.
The Phillies bullpen took over and did what they’ve done so well recently - shut the opposing offense down. They weren’t perfect - there were three base runners - but the combination of Victor Arano, Adam Morgan, and Seranthony Dominguez did the job, keeping the Dodgers at 3 runs.
The Phillies tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when Santana walked, made it to third base on a fielder’s choice then passed ball, and scored on a Nick Williams bloop single. That was the final scoring in the game, giving the Phils their 7-3 win.
Now the Phillies head to Cincinnati to take on the last-place Reds in a four-game series starting tomorrow night. The Reds have a decent offense, but their pitching is pretty bad. Hopefully, after scoring 7 runs two games in a row, the Phillies can capitalize on the opportunity to keep their offense moving in the right direction while their pitching holds the Reds down.
Fun Phillies baseball continues!