After three straight losses, including two in which the bullpen blew late leads, the Phillies needed a win for the sake of their playoff positioning, and they needed a strong outing by the bullpen for the sake of the fans’ mental wellbeing. On Sunday, the relievers gave both the fans and the team what we needed, providing five scoreless innings, helping the Phillies to a series-salvaging 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ranger Suarez was making his first start after a stint on the Injured List, and like the rest of the Phillies’ pitchers this series, he had some issues with giving up home runs to a normally punchless Brewers lineup. Then again, the homers were hit by William Contreras and Mark Canha, and those two have a history of doing damage against the Phillies.
Early deficits are nothing new for the Phillies, and despite appearing baffled by the repertoire of Brewers lefty Wade Miley for the first few innings, you figured it was only a matter of time before they started hitting.
That time came in the sixth inning. Kyle Schwarber walked, Trea Turner got the team’s first hit via an infield single, and Nick Castellanos got the team on the board with an RBI double.
The next two runs came easier. The deficit became a lead when Alec Bohm and J.T. Realmuto led off the seventh inning with back-to-back home runs.
Later in the frame, Trea Turner expanded that lead to two with an RBI single.
Of course, getting leads hasn’t been a problem for the Phillies, it’s making them hold up. Suarez was out of the game after four, which meant the beleaguered bullpen would have to handle the remaining five.
Jeff Hoffman and Seranthony Dominguez covered two of them, only allowing one hit. Matt Strahm came next, and after he pitched his way into trouble with a couple of walks, he was also able to pitch his way out of it.
I don’t know how Strahm got out of that inning but that dude was SHAKY.— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) September 3, 2023
After the debacle that was Friday night’s game, Phillies fans were understandably nervous to see Jose Alvarado in the eighth. His control wasn’t impeccable, but he trusted his Cutter, helping him strike out two, and survived a Turner error to pitch a scoreless frame.
Way, way better for Jose Alvarado, who threw 12 cutters out of 17 pitches in a scoreless eighth inning. #Phillies lead 4-2, heading to the ninth.— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) September 3, 2023
Craig Kimbrel hadn’t pitched since his meltdown on Wednesday afternoon, and the rest appeared to do him well. He allowed a bloop single, but also had two strikeouts, as he closed out the win with relative ease.
After escaping Milwaukee with a much-needed win, they’ll head further West to take on the Padres. With the Padres reeling, and the Phillies seemingly having their number recently, this could be a great opportunity for the bullpen to deliver a few more quality outings and for the team to earn a few more wins.