Let’s all take a moment to revel in Zack Wheeler’s lights out performance yesterday.
Feels good, doesn’t it?
Coming into Atlanta, there was some fear - and not unjustified - that the Phillies would get swept. But the Fightins have stepped up their play and are leading the series 2-1.
Tonight’s fourth and final game against the Braves will be the toughest. Spencer Strider continues the commanding campaign from last season, carrying an ERA of 2.97 and 97 strikeouts over 57.2 innings. The last time the Phillies faced the mustached menace was Game 3 of the NLDS, when he kept the Phillies’ bats cold for two innings before his tank reached empty. What followed was nothing short of a brutal onslaught from the offense puncuated by the now iconic bat spike from Rhys Hoskins.
It’s easy to forget Strider was coming off an injury that likely effected his endurance on that fateful October day.
The Phillies will likely rely heavily on the bullpen, anchored by Dylan Covey as the starter with Matt Strahm probably eating some middle innings, and Brogdon, Vasquez, Kimbrel, Seranthony, and the rest of the bullpen working in combination to fill in the rest. Luckily, Zack Wheeler allowed the bullpen arms a day off to prepare.
The lineup will need to step up and show discipline at the plate and intelligence in the field. Strider is, after all, still human, and the Phillies have ruined outings for aces from deGrom to Alcántara, so it’s far from impossible to take yet another game from the Braves.
Let’s win the series.
On to the links.
José Alvarado’s bullpen session scheduled for yesterday was scratched after the reliver reported stiffness in his elbow, most likely pushing back his return.
Even when batters know his slider is coming, Andrew Vasquez is proving remarkably difficult to hit off.
Dave Dombrowski discusses with Todd Zelecki the solutions - or lack of solutions - to the holes and lack of options in the starting rotation.
If you were perusing MLB.TV while waiting for the Phillies to start and landed on the Twins-Blue Jays game, you may have watched Minnesota hit back-to-back home runs, and both balls danced off the glove of Daulton Varsho on their way over the fence.
Can MLB actually embrace legalized gambling and still hold onto its integrity?