After the Phillies began the post-Joe Girardi era with a dominant 10-0 win on Friday night, Saturday’s contest against the Los Angeles Angels was more competitive. But thanks to a big first inning, some key insurance runs, and solid pitching, the Phillies won their second game under interim manager Rob Thomson, this time by a score of 7-2.
In the first, the Phillies’ hitters picked up where they left off the night before. They sent eleven batters to the plate, racking up four hits, four walks, and thanks in part to an error by Angels pitcher Michael Lorenzen, scored five runs. Kyle Schwarber’s hot month of June continued as he doubled and walked in the inning.
Schwarber with a leadoff double!#RingTheBell pic.twitter.com/5ra8DrjgQX— Philly Sports Today (@PHISportsToday) June 4, 2022
While those runs did ultimately prove enough to secure a win, victory didn’t seem assured throughout the proceedings. Zack Wheeler pitched well, giving up just two runs, but it wasn’t his most dominating outing, and was lifted from the game after six innings.
Meanwhile, the Phillies offense dried up after the first inning. Lorenzen rebounded from that rough start to retire 12 batters in a row at one point, and the Phillies were scoreless in innings two through seven. The game was beginning to take on a very familiar feel.
Between Wheelers rising pitch count and the Phillies offense vanished since the first inning, this is setting up a very Girardi-like loss— Smartin Jones (@TheSmartyJones) June 5, 2022
Fortunately, the Phillies bullpen was fresh, and Brad Hand and Seranthony Dominguez kept the Angels scoreless in the seventh and eighth respectively. In the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies’ bats finally woke up when Johan Camargo singled home two insurance runs.
Johan Camargo brings home some insurance runs!! pic.twitter.com/eecvXooFfV— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) June 5, 2022
At that point, the game felt much more secure, and then Conor Brogdon made it official with a scoreless ninth.
Maybe this series is just a case of fortuitous timing for the Phillies. The Angels have now lost nine games in a row, and Mike Trout has been uncharacteristically cold this weekend. And it’s not like they didn’t ever have big offensive games under Girardi. Sometimes they even did it two games in a row.
But I won’t rule out the possibility that Girardi’s firing did indeed spark a turnaround for the team. Maybe it provided the wake up call that they needed, or maybe it improved the vibes in the clubhouse. Let’s just see if the Thomson era Phillies can keep it going.