The electricity surrounding the Phillies has been building the last week due their sweep of the Nationals. It came at a perfect time, with the Phils starting a big weekend series against the New York Mets. Friday commenced the biggest series against the Mets since 2007, and the Phillies delivered a 4-2 win in front of 30,106 fans.
The Mets were in first place for 90 straight days. Not anymore.
Kyle Gibson started the game for the Phillies, but it wasn’t an easy one. Gibby battled through six innings, giving up four hits, four walks, and one run. He was able to induce a number of clutch ground balls at opportune times to find his way through. The Mets had a baserunner in every single inning, but were just 1/15 with runners in scoring position. Gibson didn’t just fire me up with his pitching, but the emotion he showed getting through his outing.
“Man, that was so much fun,” Gibby said after the game. “Overall, I’m a fairly even-keeled guy, but that overflow of emotions just kinda happens in big situations. I can get used to all these big moments and big spots being meaningful and a lot on the line. These fans are great. They hang on every pitch, they get the big moments and what we’re trying to do out there.”
Not only was he good on the mound, but he was even able to contribute with the bat. Gibby batted in the second run for the Phillies, the first RBI of his nine-year career.
Didi Gregorius got the Phillies started in the second inning, with a majestic home run to the second deck in right. Didi turned on a Marcus Stroman sinker and obliterated the ball an estimated 410 ft. He also added a triple, but left the game after getting hit with a pitch on the left elbow. The only negative to come out of yesterday’s game, that will be something to monitor for the rest of the weekend.
The real energizer in the game came in the eighth inning, though. With a man on in the bottom of the eighth inning, Bryce Harper added some needed insurance runs.
Harper was showered with MVP chants from those in attendance as he stepped up to the plate in the eighth. Edwin Diaz delivered a 99 mph fastball, and all Bryce did was hit it 442 ft to dead center. Bryce has been on an absolute tear this season. He is the only qualified National Leaguer with a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, and .500 slugging percentage. If he is able to continue this run and the Phillies make the playoffs, then those MVP chants could turn to reality.
It got a little closer in the top of the ninth, as Ian Kennedy gave up a solo shot to Jonathan Villar. However, he locked it down and the Phillies grabbed the W.
The Phillies delivered their biggest win of the season in a playoff-type atmosphere. This city hasn’t had that type of feel at a baseball game in a long time. It was clear that the players were feeding off that energy. Whether it was a Hector Neris fist bump to end the seventh or Harper’s plate stomp after his dinger, the team was firing on all cylinders.
They have now won six straight for the first time since June of 2018. They are currently sitting at 57-53, which is the most games they have been over .500 since they were 5-1. The Braves, who also won last night, are currently one game back in the standings. While the Phillies have been playing well, the race is far from over.
The Phillies need to take care of business the rest of the series this weekend. Ranger Suarez is on the mound today for the Phils. RHP Tylor Megill gets the ball for the Mets. Look for Suarez to throw close to 60 pitches as they continue to transition him to the rotation. First pitch is at 4:15 p.m.
Unfortunately, it looks like Didi will have to miss some time because of the HBP. He suffers from gout issues as a result of his liver condition, and swelling can linger longer than normal. It’s a tough blow for the Phillies, as he was just getting hot. With Hoskins and McCutchen both out of the lineup due to injuries, losing another middle of the order bat is difficult.
But we aren’t just talking about any old team here. We are talking about the Fightins. THE FIGHTINS!
The longer this team keeps winning, the more that the city will get behind them. The people in this city have been waiting for a reason to get excited about the Phillies since the days of J-Roll and Chase Utley. Being led by Mr. Harper and others, the team is bringing back the magic that once inhabited Citizens Bank Park.
We have been on the search for a Red October since 2011. With the way the team is playing now, we could be closer to finding it.