By: Matthew Mack
The Phillies traveled to Florida to finish their road trip against the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend. In
case you did not know, the Blue Jays are not in Toronto because of COVID restrictions in Canada
and border related issues. With that out the way, the series has some importance because
winning the series equals a successful road trip.
In the first game, the Phils showed up and showed out. Vince Velasquez put up another solid
outing. In 5 ⅔ innings, he struck out seven batters while walking three. His only
blemish was the home run surrendered to Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in the sixth and that was it. In the
very next inning, the Phils quickly answered thanks to a bases clearing double by Rhys Hoskins
with the bases loaded. Later in the inning, the Phils tacked on another run and that was all the
offense they needed to seal the win.
The next game, the bats went as cold as a Canadian winter. Pitcher Aaron Nola gave up
three runs in the first two innings that included Guerrero again with another home run in the first
and two more runs in the next inning. Philly had no answers the bats were silenced. Their offense whiffed 14 times in the entire game, wasting another quality outing by Nola. With his eight strikeouts of his own but yielding nine hits in 6 ⅔ innings of work in route to a 4-0 loss. Bryce Harper also left the game with a right shoulder injury. He is listed as day-to-day. Along with J.T. Realmuto with a wrist injury early in the game. Like Harper, he too is listed as day-to-day. Andrew McCutchen tweaked his lower back on a swing but reported that he was feeling better as the game went on.
In today’s match-up, Chase Anderson and the Phillies spotted the Blue
Jays an 8-0 lead after three innings. You would think that with that huge margin, the game would
quickly descend into a dreadful loss. However, let’s back up
to before the game, Back-up catcher Andrew Knapp was scratched off the lineup before the
game. With the myriad of injuries, they relied on Rafael Marchan to handle the catching duties.
Speaking of injuries, Scott Kingery went down with one while subbing in for Harper. With nothing but starting pitchers on the bench available. Harper went out to finish the game in right in the sixth despite his injured shoulder.
The Phils started to claw their way back in the 5th starting with back-to-back home runs by rookie Nick Maton, who hit his first career Major League home run, and Andrew McCutchen. Along with an Alec Bohm RBI later in the inning. The Phillies looked like they were in business. The next inning, Maton homers again making it an 8-4 game after six. The Nick Maton show was not over as he hit a hard 2-run
RBI liner to right making it a 9-6 in the top of the 8th. We have a game now!
In the 9th, Harper was up as the go-ahead run with 2 out with runners on 1st & 3rd in a 10-8 game. He had some healthy hacks even those that watched wrenched with concern with his shoulder, but Harper struck out swinging to end the game.
Philly showed their resolve and grit in this series. The more we look at this team, their toughness shows. Though the road trip was not as successful as anyone would have liked it to be at 4-5, there are a lot of takeaways from all this.
The big one is that this team has shown that they will not go away. The bullpen has been solid as of late. The rotation still needs improvement. What is needed is consistency from the rotation. The Phils go back home to play the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. The thing is that they are where they need to be at this moment. If this team stays the course, they will be fine.