Long time, no talk...
In my last game recap on May 20, I ended the article with “Godspeed, my friends!!!!” and that couldn’t have been a more apropos sentiment for the following ten games. Since then, the Phillies have gone 3-7, and even in the three games they won, it almost felt like a loss.
It is truly remarkable how quickly things have fallen apart in such a short span, but it’s the Phillies after all, so should I really be surprised?
The only real bright spots during the month of May were Zack Wheeler, Rhys Hoskins, and a few others. And while a few players shined, the rest did not, and with a slew of injuries, they were unable to sustain any success because of a severe lack of consistency, both offensively and defensively.
Appropriately, this all culminated in an ugly, brutal 11-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on the last day of the month, that left us feeling like:
This team is a joke— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) May 31, 2021
But now, it’s a new month. A crucial month for the Phillies, at that. Hopefully the month where Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius can return to the lineup healthy and attempt to help a struggling Phillies lineup.
Will they solve all of the issues?
But I’d like to think that getting them back, especially our $330 million right fielder, who was red hot before taking a fastball to the face, would at least help a little bit. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking at this point, though.
Anyway, back to regularly scheduled programming
June began with the second game in a three-game set with the Reds. The Phillies should’ve just started the game down two runs because that has seemed to be the theme the last few days, with Aaron Nola promptly allowing a 2-run HR in the second to Tyler Naquin.
♫ ♪ I think I’ve seen this film before, and I didn’t like the ending ♪ ♫
Luckily, unlike the past few games, the Phillies responded in their next half-inning. They tied the game at 2 on homers from Ronald Torreyes and Odúbel Herrera. It was Torreyes’ first home run since July 30, 2017.
Ronald Torreyes gets us on the board with his first homer since...— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) June 1, 2021
In the fourth, J.T. Realmuto, who was reinstated from the IL on May 29, singled and was able to move all the way over to third on a throwing error and wild pitch. It was then up to a struggling Alec Bohm to get the run from third home with two outs. Bohm looked like his old, clutch self again when he singled to left field to give the Phils the lead. It was his first RBI since May 21. HE’S ALIVEEEEEE!
Hoskins stayed hot in the fifth after driving in Jean Segura (who singled and collected his fifth stolen base of the season) on an RBI double. It was Hoskins’ 100th career double and extended his hitting streak to ten games.
Old “friend” alert! After the Phils took a 4-2 lead, Reds’ starter Sonny Gray was taken out and replaced by none other than 2020 bullpen alumni, Heath Hembree! Unfortunately, Hembree didn’t channel the Phillies version of himself and escaped the inning undamaged.
A six-run inning? In this economy?
...But, as we all know, it wouldn’t be a Hembree outing without allowing a home run. A struggling Andrew McCutchen got the ball rolling after finally breaking through on his first homer of the game, his eighth of the season. He would later pick up his ninth HR in the eighth inning, that time a three-run shot.
After allowing a Bohm single (who had a three-hit night!), Hembree was removed for Amir Garrett. The first batter Garrett faced was Torreyes who hit an RBI double to bring home Bohm.
Two batters later, Herrera hit a 2-run homer to right field, his second of the game and fourth of the season. This was then followed by a Segura single, and another 2-run bomb by Hoskins, his 12th.
A six-run inning by the Phillies? Is that even allowed?
Nola not sharp...again.
Nola struggled during the month of May, and honestly, it seems that Nola has had trouble finding his stride since throwing his first career complete-game shutout on April 18. He’s struggling with command and has simply just not had his best stuff, resulting in starts that repeatedly lack dominance. Tonight was no exception.
In five innings of work, Nola allowed three runs on eight hits. And while he only struck out two batters, he was able to reach a milestone in doing so, picking up his 1,000th career strikeout in the fifth.
Nola was replaced by Ranger Suárez with two runners on, and quickly turned a double play and picked up a strikeout to end the inning. Next time out, Suárez shut the Reds down 1-2-3. He has been excellent in 2021 thus far.
Overall, Phils’ pitching was able to induce five double-plays, which was nice to see happen to the opposing team for once.
Matt Joyce: known unwritten rules-breaker
...yup, you read that right. MATT JOYCE, of all people, continued the damage. Joyce was finally able to break through in the Rays series with a homer, and he was able to go yard tonight as well.
Tony La Russa was somewhere screaming into the void after Joyce hit a GRAND SLAM in the ninth, already up 10 runs, off of a position player! How dare he! Matt Joyce, you animal!!!!
Matt Joyce hit a grand slam off a position player while the Phillies are up 13-3. You can kiss the unwritten rules of baseball goodbye. We're lovin' it. #RingTheBell | @drewmsmith pic.twitter.com/ivLo5tsqo0— The Liberty Line (@LibertyLinePHL) June 2, 2021
The offense absolutely exploded tonight, and boy, did they need that. But in typical Phillies fashion, they’ll probably score zero runs tomorrow and give up three runs due to poor defense and make us all hate them again.
For right now, though, I’ll celebrate players like Bohm and McCutchen finally producing after being in nasty slumps. Hopefully, they can keep it up in the month of June, because, I don’t know about you guys, but I like when I actually have fun watching the games. Onto tomorrow, where the Phils look to take the series vs. the Reds.