By: Matthew Mack
The Philadelphia Phillies played a four game series in Atlanta. Both the Braves and the Phillies came into the game with identical records and tied for second place in the NL East.
In the opener, the Phillies took full control as they scored all their runs from the second to the fourth. Rhys Hoskins hit a bases clearing triple with the bases loaded in the second. In the third, J.T. Realmuto hit an RBI triple and Roman Quinn hit a two-run RBI double in the third inning. Jean Segura also tack on another run in the fourth on a line drive to center to score Alec Bohm. Atlanta scored three later in the game but all for naught Zack Wheeler did his thing going 6⅔ innings with ten strikeouts and the win, 7-3
Tuesday, this game got crazy. Kyle Gibson on the mound was grooving. In five innings, he whiffed eight batters in two runs on seven hits. In the sixth, with the Braves up 2-1, Bryce Harper doubled to score a run to tie it up. However, Braves Matt Olson answered back with a home run in the next inning. In the seventh, the Braves up 4-2, Harper put his team on his back with RBI single in the seventh and a two run bomb to put the Phillies in front in the ninth. The bottom half…was not what the Phillies had in mind. Ronald Acuña, Jr. hit a fly ball to right center only for neither Quinn or Nick Castellanos to catch the ball, scoring Dansby Swanson to tie it. After that Wilson Contreras, knocks in Acuña to win it for Atlanta 6-5
Wednesday night, Odúbel Herrera homered to get it started in the second inning. Then after that, the game for Philadelphia got haywire. Contreras answered back with a home run to tie the game. In the same inning, Ozzie Albies hit a two run RBI single and Swanson knocked in Albies to extend the Braves lead. The Phillies attempted to make it a game with Herrera and Castellanos both knocked in a run in the fifth each to close the 4-3 deficit that they were facing. Segura also added a run later in the inning with a RBI single. After that, the bullpen failed the Phillies again. Atlanta scored four unanswered runs which included Austin Riley and Swason solo home runs to run away with the lead and the game 8-4.
Thursday night, the Phillies look to get the split. Aaron Nola would take the ball for the Phils and he did not disappoint. 8⅔ innings, five hits with 10 strikeouts. His knuckle curve was working as he maintained control in the game. JT Realmuto homered to take the lead in the early going and the Phils didn’t look back. Herrera and Castellanos both added runs late in the game to make it 4-0. Although the Braves tacked on a run in the ninth, Knebel closed it out to seal the deal and get out of Atlanta with a split 4-1.
The Phillies, as predicted, got out of Atlanta with the split. The Achilles heel of this team is clearly the bullpen. The rotation and the lineup is fine but the ‘pen is not. It is clear that the Phillies need to do something about it now. At 21-24, the ship is not sinking yet but there are concerns. As the travel to Citi Fied to play the Mets, the rotation may need to stretch themselves passed the fifth to sixth innings just to have a chance.