On Friday night, the Phillies pitching staff wasted Nick Castellanos’ best game as a Phillie. On Sunday, Ranger Suarez and the bullpen did not waste the best game of Drew Ellis’ career (as well as a two home run game from Kyle Schwarber) as the Phillies defeated the Nationals 11-3.
The Phillies offense started off in its usual slow fashion, stranding two runners in the first. J.T. Realmuto hit a solo homer in the second (His second in two games, showing he might be emerging from a lengthy slump) but then they stranded three more over the next two innings.
After the Nationals tied the game in the fourth, the Phillies re-took the lead thanks to someone who many - including myself - questioned why he was even in the lineup.
Drew Ellis goes yard for the first time as a member of the Phillies! pic.twitter.com/yvjTJIYjXV— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) June 4, 2023
The players haven’t rewarded Rob Thomson’s decisions all that much this season, but Ellis certainly made him look smart, considering he added another home run in the seventh.
Ellis wasn’t the only hitting star of the day. Kyle Schwarber spent the first few days of June looking much like he did in April and May, but on the fourth, he finally seemed to switch into “June Schwarber” mode. First, he did that rarest of feats for Phillies hitters, and actually hit a three-run home run.
The #Phillies still only have ONE 3-run HR this year, by Alec Bohm on April 10th.— schmenkman (@tgpschmenk) June 4, 2023
- The 49-game drought is the longest they’ve had in 31 years.
- Having only one 3-run HR in the first 59 games is something they’ve done only once in the last 77 years, in 1988.@thegoodphight
Apparently not satisfied with one, he added another three-run shot in the ninth.
Ranger Suarez was the recipient of that run support, and while he still didn’t look quite as sharp as he did last year, he pitched seven innings giving up only one run. That’s two strong starts in a row, so perhaps he’s finally rounded into form.
It’s tough to know what to take from this game. Was this a fluky, unsustainable offensive performance over a bad team that they’ve owned in recent seasons? Or was this a sign that formerly slumping stars like Schwarber, Realmuto, and Suarez are finally playing up to their reputations. We can hope for the latter, but we’ve seen too much of the former to give me much confidence.