Momentum is baseball is fickle, and the Phillies are living proof. It seems that every time they earn an important or exciting win, they follow it up with a dispiriting loss. For example, after a solid victory in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, they played like garbage in dropping the nightcap. So after they won the suspended game early on Sunday afternoon, it wouldn’t have shocked anyone if the Phillies came out flat for the next game.
Fortunately, the Phillies did not come out flat. Instead, thanks to contributions from players both expected and not, they earned a comeback victory over the Marlins 7-4.
The Marlins’ defense looked a lot like the Phillies’ (read: bad) in the second inning, when an infield single and passed ball gave the Phillies their first run. Then, coming off his early game heroics, J.T. Realmuto added to that lead with an RBI single.
A two-run lead is modest, but when Zack Wheeler is on the mound, that’s usually plenty. Wheeler pitched five excellent innings on Sunday, the problem being that he was in the game for six. He struggled in the third inning, giving up four runs, two of them coming off the bat of Adam Duvall.
Fortunately, Wheeler was able to shake that off and keep the Marlins off the board for the next three innings, giving the offense a chance to mount a comeback.
And mount a comeback they did. The offense finally seemed to realize that the Marlins’ pitchers were not that good, and started sending balls into the seats. Home runs by Andrew McCutchen and Didi Gregorius tied things up.
The Phillies used productive outs to take the lead in the sixth. They scored one run via Jean Segura sacrifice fly (one of two runs scored by Travis Jankowski), and another on a bases loaded groundout by McCutchen. And then Realmuto capped off his excellent day with an insurance RBI in the seventh.
The Phillies bullpen and three-run leads aren’t always a good combination, but Connor Brogdon, Bailey Falter, and Hector Neris were able to close it out without incident.
This was truly a team win. They got contributions from stars (Realmuto, Wheeler), the usual supporting cast (McCutchen, Segura), and even some less-expected sources (Jankowski, Neris).
The Phillies have now won their last four series. Does that mean they actually have some momentum on their side? And will that momentum carry over through Monday’s off-day into the upcoming two-game set at Yankee Stadium? It would be nice if that was the case, but based on recent history, we shouldn’t count on it.