The Phillies’ offense didn’t overwhelm the Padres’ pitching staff over the weekend, but there were some positive signs, most notably the displays of power from Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. Those two will need to continue to hit the ball hard against a Brewers team that is offensively challenged but has one of the better pitching staffs in the league.
Record: 52-42, First place in National League Central
Is Craig Counsell a good manager? His Brewers teams have generally made the playoffs, which is good. But the team generally doesn’t win upon making the playoffs which is bad.
We're calling Craig Counsell a "managerial great"? He's won one playoff series https://t.co/DtQrJAqmdg— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) July 16, 2023
It should be noted that the Phillies didn’t exactly seize the final wild card spot last season. The Brewers had ample opportunity to sneak into the playoffs but lost three of four to the Marlins in a pivotal late-season series. (Isn’t nice when the Phillies can take advantage of other teams losing games they shouldn’t to the Marlins?)
The last time they met
For years, the Phillies fared poorly at Miller Park, but in June 2022, that changed. The first game was the one where Alec Bohm and Matt Vierling broke Josh Hader for a while.
The Phillies went on to win the next two as well.
What’s the deal with the Brewers?
Despite a bounce back season by Christian Yelich, the Brewers offense has been bad in 2023. They have the lowest OPS in the NL despite a decent number of walks. Aside from Yelich, the most dangerous hitter is Willy Adames who is built from the Kyle Schwarber mold: He’ll hit his share of home runs, but his batting average is ugly.
That weak offense doesn’t sound like one you’d find on a first-place team, but the Brewers have two things working in their favor: They play in the relatively weak NL Central, and they have an excellent rotation. The Phillies will have to go against Julio Teheran, Wade Miley, and Corbin Burnes this series, and those three have been tough on batters this season. (This doesn't even factor in Brandon Woodruff who has been injured most of the year.)
They also have a strong back end of the bullpen with Devin Williams, Joel Payamps, as well as another guy who Phillies fans surely remember.
Can you guess which former Phillies pitcher leads the Brewers in appearances this season? Its Hoby Milner!
MLB umpires get crushed a lot but last night very wise decision by Jerry Lane to allow Hoby Milner to warm up in bullpen after being summoned into game by Kapler, w/o warning, so as not see him possibly hurt arm. #Phillies— C. James Philly (@cjamesPhilly) April 1, 2018
Most times, a reliever like Milner would be long forgotten by Phillies fans. But thanks to Gabe Kapler’s antics, we’ll probably always remember him.
It’s amazing that Milner is still in the league. After a strong rookie season for the Phillies in 2016, he didn’t finish a season with an ERA under 6.00 until 2021, when he didn’t exactly set the world on fire with a 5.40 mark. (Parents, if you want your children to always have work, train them to be left-handed pitchers.)
For some reason, the Brewers stuck with him, and he finally became a dependable relief arm in 2022. My hope is that if one of the Brewers’ starters is cruising along in the middle innings, Counsell will decide to take him out of the game in favor of Milner.
Are we back?
Presumably because he knew I was in attendance, Bryce Harper did something rare on Saturday night:
That was the second straight Phillies vs. Padres game I attended where Harper homered. (You can probably guess what the other one was.)
Is this a sign that Harper’s power is returning? He didn’t homer on Sunday, but he chipped in a double and a game-tying single in extra innings, so there is reason to be hopeful.
Last series’ answer: In 2012, Jim Thome’s last hit as a Phillie was the only time a Phillie has hit a walk off home run against the Rays. Chappdaddy was correct.
On this day in 2012, Jim Thome hit a walk-off home run against the Rays at Citizens Bank Park.— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) June 23, 2022
It was the final hit he would record as a Phillie. pic.twitter.com/8FcczFyd6R
This series’ question: Which member of the 2022 Phillies hit two triple against the Brewers that season?
Smarty’s tournament of randomness
Eric Bruntlett was an unspectacular player, but his unassisted triple play is proving near impossible to beat in this tournament! Even a commercial hinting at forbidden love couldn’t slow him down, and he advances to the finals.
On to the next final four matchup:
#8 - The Delaware Memorial Bridge
Sure, the Delaware Memorial Bridge is great and all, but you know what bridge is very underrated? The Tydings Bridge!
#12 - The 1994 blue hats
The blue hats have shown more staying power in this tournament than they did as an actual uniform piece for the Phillies.
Which will advance? You decide!
Which should advance: Delaware Memorial Bridge or the 1994 blue hats?
This poll is closed
#8 - Delaware Memorial Bridge
#12 - 1994 blue hats
This should suck...but it doesn’t
Instead of my usual non-Phillies thought, I’ll start a new recurring feature when I talk about something that by all rights should suck, but for some reason, it doesn’t.
“Back in Time” by Pitbull
For the first two Men in Black movies, Will Smith recorded the main theme from the soundtrack. For the third installment, he outsourced that duty to Pitbull.
We’ve got a “B team” artist making a song from a “threequel” soundtrack, sampling the 1957 hit “Love is Strange.” This shouldn’t have worked, and yet, damned if it doesn’t get your head bobbing.
Really, I could have put MIB 3 the movie itself in this category. It felt like the whole movie was made simply because Josh Brolin did a good Tommy Lee Jones impression, but it was entertaining and did a solid job of wrapping up the saga. Or at least until they made another one, which I never bothered seeing, because according to most people, that actually did suck.
The Brewers’ pitching is tough. But if Harper is going to start sending balls into the seats on a regular basis, it might not matter.