Trade deadline day is always eventful.
Usually, fans are dissecting the move(s) their team made, criticizing the move(s) they didn’t make and/or lamenting the move(s) other teams made. Today was no different. While the Phillies did identify their biggest need, the bullpen, a few weeks ago and began addressing it, they also made a move today in getting David Phelps from Milwaukee.
However, after all the rumors and deal making, there was still a game to be played. The Nationals were coming into town to take on the red hot Phillies with Spencer Howard on the mound, hoping to begin to show the promise that his right arm is filled with.
Couldn’t have started out better for the young man. He struck out Trea Turner to lead off the game with paint that Michaelangelo would be proud of, then introduced Juan Soto to his changeup and devastation it could cause. After allowing a baserunner, he completed the nastiness trifecta by striking out the side.
Spencer Howard showing off his stuff as he struck out the side with a fastball, changeup and slider. pic.twitter.com/vl9GQUeCmb— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 31, 2020
In the bottom of the first, the team’s hottest hitter in Rhys Hoskins came up with one out, facing Eric Fedde, and deposited a fastball that crept back over toward the middle of the plate into the left field seats.
Is @rhyshoskins locked in?— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 31, 2020
We'd say @rhyshoskins is locked in. #RingTheBell pic.twitter.com/kTHfc7LuO0
After Howard got through a relatively easy second inning, Jay Bruce, fresh off of the injured list, stepped up and sent the 3-1 pitch he saw very, very far into the stands.
pic.twitter.com/d9zhxKdHfD— MLB Breaking News (@MLBNews1234) August 31, 2020
Jay Bruce hits a solo shot to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.
Howard continued putting up zeroes for the Phillies, going four scoreless innings to open his outing, getting more run support from his offense in the bottom of that fourth. Bryce Harper walked to open the frame, then J.T. Realmuto was hit for the second time on the evening. Didi Gregorius hit a dribbler for an infield single that loaded the bases for Jean Segura. Segura has been swinging a hot bat lately, combining with Hoskins and Andrew McCutchen to lead an offense that has seen its two stars, Harper and Realmuto, slump a little bit. Here, Segura kept the damage up, drilling a bases clearing double to make the score 5-0. Fedde wasn’t a fan.
lmao pic.twitter.com/hz5WQJuQYJ— Absolutely Hammered (@AH_Pod) September 1, 2020
Alec Bohm would end up driving in Segura with a sacrifice fly and Howard had a 6-0 lead.
He’s give two back in the fifth when Soto homered with Turner on bases, chiseling away at that lead just a bit. But Howard would settle down and get out of the fifth, his night over after a solid start, one he needed. After Jojo Romero was perfect in relief over 1 1⁄3 innings, Heath Hembree was brought in in the seventh with one out to face Michael Taylor.
Then Hembree faced Turner.
‘Twasn’t a good feeling that the bullpen was giving. Hembree would miraculously get Soto out on his own before giving way to Tommy Hunter, who got the third out of the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Bruce would lead off with a single, Bohm would double him to third with no one out. Roman Quinn and Andrew McCutchen would strike out and pop up, respectively, bringing up Hoskins, his team needing insurance runs in the worst way with the way the bullpen has struggled this year.
Rhys Hoskins last 15 games— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 1, 2020
Those runs proved crucial.
In the ninth, the team still leading 8-4, Brandon Workman came in to a non-save situation. He allowed a single to Turner, his fourth hit of the night, before Soto came up again. This time - he homered again.
Juan Soto - Washington Nationals (11) pic.twitter.com/hBTYaDPPws— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) September 1, 2020
The guy is just unreal with a bat in his hands. Workman, though, would go on to get the next two hitters, ending the game and preserving the victory for the Phillies.
It was a solid victory for the Phillies, one that saw them win their sixth in their last seven games.