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It’s a win, but should we be worried?: Phillies 5, Nationals 2

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A win is a win, but it’s not without concern

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Let’s get to the most important part. The Phillies won the game thanks to a huge three-run home run from Andrew McCutchen that broke the game open a bit.

The won thanks to Bryce Harper coming back and getting a clutch RBI single that plated the fifth run of the game for the team.

They won because Ranger Suarez came into a tough situation in the third inning and wiggled out of it allowing just one run (shouldn’t have been any, but that’s the Phillies’ defense for you), then proceeded to allow nothing more over another two innings, giving the team three total innings of relief to piggyback the starter for the day. Even with a little hiccup from Jose Alvarado during his stint, the bullpen pretty much saved the day today.

It’s the “why” that we should be concerned about.

Spencer Howard was an almost consensus top Phillies prospect coming into the season. The team wanted to limit his innings this year to try and get him through the season without getting hurt or having to start him up, sit him down and start him up again in case an injury occurred. But now, there seems to be an issue that the team cannot ignore much longer.

He was hitting between 93 and 97 miles an hour with his fastball in the first two innings. Yet once again, coming out in the third inning, his velocity dropped to a significant degree. It’s something that is becoming an alarming pattern and it needs an explanation. There has to be a reason that he cannot get out of the third inning with any regularity without his velocity and his overall ability to pitch falling off the face of the earth. It could have a major impact on their plans moving forward.

The team has an effective reliever in Suarez who can throw multiple innings, but if he can only throw those multiple innings when Howard starts, that takes away his most valuable asset. It also takes away a lefthanded reliever that the team could use late in games like they did today with Juan Soto. The inability of Howard to be stretched out has a domino effect on the way Joe Girardi runs a bullpen. That’s an issue in today’s game.

Like I mentioned earlier, a win is a win. You’ll take it however you can take it. But there are big concerns right now with their #4 starter. These concerns need solutions.