One of those rare trips up to Seattle saw the Phillies entering the stadium to see a team that was struggling and play with a chance to take control of their division. Sending out their young starter in Spencer Howard, they played like you’d hope they would.
First of all, it’s super weird to see a Phillies lineup that has a designated hitter in it. Don’t know how long it’ll take to get used to it.
Andrew McCutchen opened things up with a two-run home run in the top of the first, his ninth on the year. The Mariners would tie it up in the bottom of the second inning with a leadoff double by Kyle Seager, then two outs later, a triple from Jake Fraley and another double from old friend J.P. Crawford, knotting the game at 2.
From there, it was all Howard and the Phillies.
In the fourth, singles from J.T. Realmuto and Neil Walker, followed by a walk by Scott Kingery, loaded the bases with no one out. Realmuto would score on a wild pitch to Logan Forsythe, giving the Phillies the lead. Roman Quinn walked to re-load the bases, then two more runs were plated when Jean Segura, in his return to Seattle, stroked a two-run single that made it 5-2. The team would get two more on a two-run double by Kingery in the seventh scored Bryce Harper, who doubled, and Realmuto, who singled, making the score 7-2.
Howard, during all of this, was on cruise control after that rough second inning. Going five strong innings thanks to a pitch count that rose because of the second, he struck out seven, walked two, allowed six hits and only two run. The bullpen, led by two stellar innings in relief by Nick Pivetta, put down the meek Mariners lineup, which featured three starters with a batting average under .200, without much fuss. It was a good way to start the road trip.
The two teams will hook up tomorrow on Independence Day.
We mentioned yesterday that the Phillies’ pitching was beginning to lag. Their starting rotation ranks 13th in the National League with a 4.88 ERA, their bullpen also 13th with a 4.37 ERA. Overtures are being made to teams that are falling behind in the standings about a possible deal, the team looking to get ahead of the trade market. Stay tuned.