By: Matthew Mack
The Philadelphia Phillies started the first leg of their west coast road trip in Dodger Stadium. They were facing the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers for a three game series. Although the Dodgers were battling injuries, they are within a game of the San Francisco Giants for first place in the NL West. While Philly tries to keep and maintain the momentum they have garnered after their homestand.
In the first game, Philly jumped on them in the first with a Bryce Harper RBI single. Spencer Howard started for the Phils and held his own. However, he gave up two home runs to put the Dodgers up three-to-one and they never looked back. The bats of the Phillies went cold with runners in scoring position as they went one-for-11 in the game. Dodgers closer Kelly Jansen slammed the door in the 9th to save it for Los Angeles and secure the win.
In the second game, Dodger Stadium was rocking as they had their “Reopening Day” all the while donning their gold uniforms with the championship patch on their right sleeves. The Dodgers scored first with an RBI single by Will Smith in the bottom of the first, one-to-zero. Andrew McCutchen returned the favor in the following inning with a solo home run to tie the game. After that, it was the Mookie Betts show. He hit a solo home run in the 7th to give LA the lead and an RBI single for insurance as the Phillies lost this one five-to-three.
In a night where the Sixers were blowing 20+ point leads on the East Coast, the Phillies led by Bryce Harper who is injured, wanted to do something different and put on the red uniform tops. If memory serves this writer correctly, the last time the Phils wore the red tops was when Vince Velasquez struck out 16 batters a few years ago. Clayton Kershaw and Zack Wheeler were dueling on the mound as both went six innings. Though Wheeler put more runners on than usual. He held his own by not allowing a run and whiffing six batters. Kershaw threw for nine K’s in the duel. First Baseman Rhys Hoskins ended his zero-for-33 slump with a solo home run to start the scoring for Philly in the first inning. Catcher J.T. Realmuto hit an RBI double in the third and that was all the Phillies needed to win the game two-to-zero, avoiding the sweep. Héctor Neris came in the 9th to pick up his 10th save of the season.
The next series will be another tough one as they face the first place San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The Phillies will need to bear down and win the series. Winning series are becoming more and more important as the season continues to progress into the dog days of summer. Meanwhile, Jean Segura found his way back to the IL and will not be seen on the field for three weeks. The injuries are a major concern but as long as Philly continues to play well. They should be able to weather the storm for the rest of the month. Fans should look no further than Luke Williams. He has been hot since coming to the Phillies from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and showing no signs of slowing down. This rookie is holding down the fort for the Phils as they continue to battle through injuries