The Phillies swept the Cardinals in the 2022 Wild Card series, but haven’t managed to bust out the brooms against the Cards during the regular season since 2006.
Aaron Nola dominates
In Nola’s last appearance he gave up four runs to the Giants. Afterward Rob Thomson said that was one of his best starts in a while. But today Nola looked like the ace everyone hoped he would be. He pitched seven innings and allowed a single hit - a double to Tommy Edman in the first - and one walk. Nola struck out nine to bring his career total to 1,554, tying Curt Schilling for the fifth most strikeouts in franchise history.
Offense stays hot
Drew Rom made his second big league appearance today after coming to St. Louis from Baltimore. In his first outing the Pirates roughed him up pretty good. He received no reprieve from Kyle Schwarber, who pounded the first pitch thrown by Rom and used it to trim the trees behind the center field fence. For a change, the Phillies were on the board first.
This Schwarbomb marked the Phillies’ 49th home run in August, piling onto the franchise record for most homers hit in a single month.
KYLE SCHWARBER DEMOLISHES THE FIRST PITCH HE SEES pic.twitter.com/YWACoTyEZc— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 27, 2023
In the bottom of the fifth, Johan Rojas hit a long fly ball to the left field wall. The ball landed in Alec Burleson’s glove but as he struck the wall the ball popped out. For a moment Burleson looked around at his feet for the ball, then finally found it, but Rojas was already safely at second base by the time he threw it to the infield. A sacrifice ground out by Schwarber moved Rojas to third and a sac fly by Turner brought him home to give the Phillies their second run of the game.
It’s been lost in the madness of the last few weeks, but Johan Rojas not only has been sensational defensively since his call up, but serviceable at the dish.— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) August 27, 2023
The kid skipped AAA and is hitting .302/.348/.430 in his first 86 at bats
In the bottom of the seventh, Rojas hit a hard line drive right back to Cardinals’ reliever Jacob Barnes. The ball hit off of Barnes’ hand hard enough for him to leave the game, and Rojas reached first safely. Barnes was later seen in the dugout with his hand wrapped.
Rojas was thrown out at second on a bungled Cardinals’ play on a ground ball from Trea Turner that should have resulted in a double play. Nick Castellanos singled to left field and Turner hustled to third. With runners on the corners and two outs, Bryce Harper stepped up to the plate. Harper went after the first pitch he saw and loped it to left field. It looked like it would be the third out but the ball dropped in just front of Burleson and Turner scored.
Craig Kimbrel took the mound in the ninth to close it out, but not without adding a touch of excitement. After walking Burleson and allowing a hit to Paul Goldschmidt to put runners on second and third with only one out, Kimbrel got Nolan Arenado to pop out and then struck out Willson Contreras to end the game.
The Cardinals managed to score only three runs against the Phillies in this three-game series while the Phillies scored 22 runs. While the Cardinals are on course to possibly finish last place in the NL Central, the Phillies dominating performance this weekend shouldn’t be minimized. The lineup has finally caught fire from top to bottom, and the starting pitchers and bullpen are clicking just when the team needs them to the most. They need to keep the momentum going and put more room between them and the ever churning pack of other Wild Card contenders.
The Phillies will host the Los Angeles Angels for a three game series starting tomorrow at 6:40 PM. Fans won’t see phenom Shohei Ohtani pitch in Philly since he tore his UCL, but they will likely see him hit. Also out with injuries for the Halos are Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. Taijuan Walker (13-5, 4.02 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound against Lucas Giolito (7-10, 4.32 ERA).