By: Matthew Mack
The Philadelphia Phillies faced the Boston Red Sox in a pivotal match-up before the All-Star break. Philadelphia had a lot of momentum after beating the Cubs. Philly looked to stay competitive and get to a 500 record against the best team in the AL East.
Friday night, J.T. Realmuto started the scoring early in the first inning with an RBI double. It looked like the scoring from the night before would continue on. The Red Sox answered right back starting with an Enrique Hernandez home run and Hunter Renfroe RBI groundout. The very next inning, Philly took back the lead thanks to Alec Bohm. Who hit a two-run RBI single to right. Vince Velasquez could not get it together as Boston took full advantage of his fastball and chased him out the game by the third inning. The Red sox kept doing what they do best, hit the ball and get on base and score nine runs before Philly knew what hit them. When that happened, the damage was already done. The bullpen could not stop the bleeding. Ronald Torreyes pitched a scoreless ninth and even though two runs scored earlier in the seventh. It was not to be as the Red Sox won this one 11-to-five.
On Saturday, Philadelphia was looking to rebound and they did just that. Jean Segura opened the game with a lead-off home run. Bohm followed up in the next inning with a slam over the famous Green Monster in left. Xander Bogaerts put the Red Sox on the board with a homer of his own. After the catcher Andrew Knapp threw away the ball on a pickoff attempt to first. Scoring Christian Vasquez from second, the Phillies did not look back. They put up an eight spot to run away from the Red Sox, 11-two. The bullpen stood out as they did not allow any runs. In the middle of the game. Bohm left after testing positive for COVID-19, Aaron Nola, and relievers Conor Brogdon and Bailey Falter later in the day would be shelved because of contact tracing.
Sunday afternoon was the game both teams needed going into the All Star break on a good note. Boston was first with a Bogaerts solo home run in the second inning. Right after that inning was over, Philly responded with an RBI single by Realmuto which was followed by a throwing error by Renfoe at right field when the ball got away from 3rd baseman Rafael Devers and into the dugout, scoring Travis Jankowski. In the next inning Torreyes launched a three-run homer over the Green Monster to extend the lead, 5-1. He maintained a hot bat in the game with three hits and a stolen base. The Red Sox launched their offensive in the fifth and sixth innings by scoring three runs to pull them within one. Phillies reliever Brandon Kintzler started the game in place of Nola. The rest of the bullpen did their jobs as they worked together to secure the win. Ranger Súarez collected his second save of the season in part of the collaborative bullpen game.
The Philadelphia Phillies go into the All Star break with a 44-44 record and are three and a half games out of first-place in the National League East, behind the New York Mets. As this team starts to get hot heading into the break. Putting these games together will be a big test if they want to get to the postseason come October. It looks like they are finally getting it together. As the hitting picked up in the last week or so, the bullpen has finally chilled and done their jobs when called. They do have a chance. That is the reality. With the Braves having a gigantic blow with Ronald Acuña out for the season with a torn ACL, and the Nationals having their up and down season. The division is still up for grabs. It will be interesting if the front office has anything up their sleeve by the July 31st deadline to bolster whatever needs they can fill to get to the postseason. Until then, they are putting together series wins and that is what they need to continue to do.