The Phillies speak volumes about their resilience as a club — the ability to bounce back from tough streaks, ugly losses, and disappointing starts to games.
They have shown this quality over the past week, winning four of their last seven matches despite their opponents scoring first in all seven matches.
Christopher Sanchez allowed a two-run homer in the first inning to Paul Goldschmidt Friday night but the Phillies came back with three runs in the second and one in the third to build a multi-run lead and win 7-2.
Four of the first 10 Phillies batters who came to the plate doubled off Miles Mikulas, a contact-reliant right fielder who couldn’t keep his dunks as low as he would have liked.
Starting behind the plate for JT Realmuto, Garrett Stubbs started the scoring with a two-out double in the bottom of the second. He didn’t hit the ball hard but hit it in a perfect spot, dropping it to the right of third baseman Nolan Arenado to second plate. Kyle Schwarber followed with an RBI double of his own after trailing by a count of 0-2.
The Phils made another run in the third when Bryce Harper singled and advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Bryson Stott’s sacrifice fly. Alec Baum hit his career-high 14th home run to go ahead in the sixth inning and Schwarber grounded his 35th out later. Schwarber has eight home runs and 18 RBIs in his last 16 games.
Harper also tripled and scored in the seventh inning. He’s hit 14-for-30 over his last eight games with two triples, five homers, nine RBI and 11 runs scored.
“I feel like I’m in a good place right now,” Schwarber said. “I feel like the whole team is in a really good position now. We’ve been swinging really well, hitting good, deep calculations and getting rewards for that. You just have to keep it up.”
The sustained offense throughout the game was applauded as the Phillies scored most of their recent goals late on. They scored 51 points in their last seven games going into Friday with 28 points in the seventh inning or later.
Sanchez continues to perform for the Phillies. They didn’t have a #5 answer in their rotation for the first two and a half months of the season but had the best #5 player in baseball since being called up from Triple A on June 17. Sanchez has the second-lowest WHIP (0.97) and fifth-best walks average (3.8%) in MLB over that span. His ERA of 3.14 is eighth best in the National League.
And again on Friday night, Sanchez was not accompanied by anyone. He has walked less than one in every 25 batters he has faced since being called back. Not only did he correct the control problem that held him back in the minor leagues, he turned it into his greatest strength. Only George Kirby, Logan Webb, Zack Evelyn and Braxton Jarrett have been stingier on free passes than Sanchez since his return to the big leagues.
“He gave us quality almost every time,” said technical director Rob Thompson. “It was just a godsend for us because we were really struggling in that place early in the year, and we tried to fill him in with (Matt) Stram and build up his innings to the point where he got a lot of innings on him. Sanchi to come here and do what he did was It’s good for us.”
The Phillies won 70-58 after winning and 3-1 in their nine-game home game. They’re three games ahead of the Cubs and Diamondbacks for first place in the wild cards.
The Phils should feel good about the rest of the weekend as Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola start against another right-hander who doesn’t miss a bat on Saturday in Dakota Hudson and a left-handed rookie on Sunday in Drew Room.
The Cardinals’ inability to generate blows this season has been a major problem. They have the third-worst hit and swing averages, the second-highest calling average and the second-highest hitting average for opponents in MLB. The only teams worse in any of these categories are the Rockies and the Nationals. The Phillies will face the Cards five more times.
St. Louis chief of baseball operations John Mozeliak said this summer that it was time for the Cardinals to adjust how they develop pitchers and who they go after. For years, they were less concerned with losing batters than the rest of the league and achieved success through quick and poor contact. Elimination of the pitch shift has affected them, as has aging shooters like Mikulas and Adam Wainwright.
Keep that in mind because the Cardinals look like the main suitors for NOLA this season.
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