In his return from an elbow injury, Spencer Howard was superb, going 6+ strong innings. To help him out, it took a while, but the offense came through in the clutch.
Howard was going to be limited to a 95 pitch count, so he had to make the most of what he had in his arsenal. Outside of a solo home run by Corey Dickerson in the second inning, he did. He was as efficient as efficient could be, striking out nine over his outing, allowing three walks and only five hits, including that homer. However his counterpart, Pablo Lopez, was even more efficient.
Headed into the sixth inning, he didn’t allow anything outside of four hits and a few walks. He was completely in control of the Phillies lineup until Bryce Harper came to bat in that sixth with two outs. Lopez made one of his only mistakes that inning by leaving a changeup up to the slugger, who drilled it for a game tying home run.
In the seventh, the Phillies took the lead when Adam Haseley doubled and was driven home by Logan Forsythe. Still, after the inning was complete, Lopez was only at 86 pitches, so the manager Don Mattingly stuck with him. That proved to be the wrong move as the Phillis knocked him for two more runs in the eighth when Jay Bruce drove in two with a double, then Scott Kingery drove in two more with a two-run home run off of Ryne Stanek to officially ice the game for the Phillies.
Howard was the big story tonight. With the virtual injury to Zack Wheeler decimating this pitching staff, and the rest of the members pitching unevenly, his ability to control even an offense as weak as the Marlins is going to be clutch as they continue to their virtual drive to the pennant.
The two teams finish off the series tomorrow afternoon before the Phillies head to New York for a showdown with the Mets.llies head to N