By: Matthew Mack
The streaking Philadelphia Phillies put their win streak on the line against the Los Angeles Dodgers. To start the series the Phillies held a two game lead in the NL East over the Atlanta Braves.
Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola locked horns in the first game. It started out like a big-time heavyweight fight. In the first four innings, Nola struck out seven and gave up one hit. He started out great. Scherzer was also dealing with six strikeouts and allowed three hits. Both starts were cut short by an hour and 44 minute rain delay. When the delay was over, the game shifted towards the Dodgers. Cory Seager and Max Muncy both homered in the game. Philly had no answer for the Los Angeles bullpen as they went down five-to-zero.
In the second game, rain was in the forecast again. This time, manager Joe Girardi started Connor Brodgon, who just came off the IL, instead of Kyle Gibson who played at the end of the previous game. Before that, Brogdon and Héctor Neris pitched scoreless innings to start the game. Then the rains came again. 57 minutes later, the game resumed. The Dodgers attacked first with a Cody Bellinger home run after he and Gibson battled on a 13-pitch at bat. Pitcher Dave Price even helped his own cause by doubling a run in. Ronald Torreyes answered back on the other side of the inning with a two-run single. However, the same story played out from the last game. Los Angeles ran away with the game and things fell apart for the Phillies. The scoring onslaught continued as Pollock singled in a run and Bellinger hit another bomb to right. It was all Dodgers eight-to-two.
Before the Eagles started their preseason game at the Linc later in the day, the Phils played an afternoon matinee to finish the series. They got on the board first with a Bryce Harper home run in the first inning. Torreyes also pitched in with his RBI single to center in the fourth. Turner, however, mustered an RBI with a ground out to shortstop Didi Gregorius. Even with that blemish, Ranger Suárez and the bullpen came in and did their job. Home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez in the ninth missed a strikeout call which did not sit well with Girardi. Seconds later, Girardi was ejected from the game. After the dust settled, Ian Kennedy finished the job to get the win and the save for the Phillies.
The Phillies will have to get it together as they now face the Cincinnati Reds this weekend. They are four games out of the Wild Card race and Jesse Winkler is playing like an MVP this season. The Reds lineup is dangerous. They are top five in almost every offensive category in baseball. The Phillies need to see to it that the bats are quieted. They are still in the lead in the NL East by a half a game on the Mets and a full game on the Braves. Phillies will need to prove they can perform against non-NL East opponents if they want to make it to the playoffs.