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Beating teams they should beat: Phillies 4, Nationals 2

On the one year anniversary of Topper’s promotion, the bullpen pulls together and the offense gets going

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals
Let’s hope J.T.’s slump has transformed into a streak
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After a five-game skid, the Phillies pulled out a win and climbed out of a tie with the Washington Nationals in the basement of the NL East. It’s nice to win one every once in a while, isn’t it?

Matt Strahm (4-3, 3.20 ERA) kicked off this bullpen game for the Phillies against MacKenzie Gore (3-3, 3.51 ERA). Only two months into the season, Strahm is quickly approaching the number of innings he pitched for the entirety of last season.

Bryson Stott was missing from the lineup today, the infield consisting of Drew Ellis, Josh Harrison, Edmundo Sosa, and Trea Turner. Who would have predicted that infield card back in March?

For the second game in a row, Kyle Schwarber reprised his role as leadoff hitter. He started the game with a single to shallow centerfield, but spent the rest of the inning on first after Nick Castellanos popped out and Harper hit into a double-play.

J.T. Realmuto, who came into the game in the midst of a maddening 3-for-43 slump, drove a fastball into left field for a double in his first plate appearance. Josh Harrison roped a hit into left field to knock Realmuto across the plate and put the Phillies on the board with the game’s first run.

Edmundo Sosa singled to start the third inning. Castellanos continued his streak from last night with a broken bat single down the third base line. After Harper struck out swinging, Trea Turner turned on a 2-1 slider and smacked it into the left field corner where it barely stayed fair, allowing him to reach second and Sosa to score. This is the third game in a row in which Turner has managed to get a hit.

Matt Strahm gave the team two hitless innings and Andrew Vasquez provided a scoreless third inning. Then Dylan Covey took the mound in the fourth. The last time we saw Covey, he coughed up seven runs to Atlanta in the first inning, including two home runs before he recorded a single out. If there was any doubt that he’s not ready for the majors, it was laid to rest today when he gave up three hits and two runs in the fourth inning to tie the game 2-2.

Covey came back out for the fifth and miraculously got out of the inning without any damage done. The home plate ump helped Covey by calling a pitch off the plate a third strike - which was the second time in the game the ump had called out Lane Thomas looking on pitches that were clearly off the plate. A pick off at first ended the inning, and the blood pressure of many Phillies fans returned to pre-fourth inning levels.

J.T. Realmuto lead off the sixth and knocked one over the left field fence, his first hit to go yard since April 30th, and only his fourth homer of the season. It was his second hit of the day.

The good guys padded their lead in the eighth when Harper started things off with a stand-up double to right field. Trea Turner worked a walked. After a pitching change, Realmuto reached first on a fielder’s choice that moved Harper to third. Brandon Marsh hit a deep fly ball to center for a sacrifice that allowed Harper to score.

Strahm, Vasquez, Marte, Soto, Dominguez, and Kimbrel combined for seven innings of three-hit, no-run ball. Dylan Covey gave up the Nationals' only two runs.

These are the games the Phillies should win. Despite yesterday’s loss, the offense erased a seven run deficit and briefly tied the game. Are the Phillies’ bats finally in “June” mode and turning it around? Or are they again teasing us with flashes of the potential they have while taking a single win against an opponent they should beat up on?

Time will tell.

Next Up

The Phillies will look to take the series in Washington tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 pm, with Ranger Suárez (0-2, 7.13 ERA) expected to take the ball against Trevor Williams (2-3, 3.93 ERA).

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