While some fans are disappointed with the result of the Dodgers series, it isn’t the worst thing to happen. The Dodgers have the third best record in the league, and have a remarkable +182 run differential. They are going to be playing in October. It was always going to be difficult series.
Not only did the Phils have to worry about LA in this series, but weather and injuries made this series difficult to navigate. That being said, the Phillies coming out on top yesterday quite literally salvaged the series from being a disaster.
With a 2-1 win down at CBP, the Phillies remain atop the NL East. Ranger Suarez started the game for the Phillies, pitching into the fifth inning. He has looked good starting, being able to hold the uptick in stuff he saw in the bullpen. Though it weakened the bullpen, Suarez is more valuable in the rotation for this team moving forward. All he does is throw strikes, and the Phillies need that type of starter.
More impressively, the bullpen threw 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball. The only three baserunners allowed were on three walks, two of which should have been strikeouts if not for Alfonso Marquez. Even Enyel De Los Santos was able to give the Phillies 2/3 innings of scoreless ball (he didn’t allow EVERY inherited runner to score for once!!!).
Archie Bradley and Hector Neris combined to throw three perfect innings, no easy feat against a lineup like the Dodgers. They have both been vital to the run the Phillies have been on. Both have consistently shown the ability to pitch multiple innings when the team has needed it most. Their performances lately have allowed Ranger to start games.
In Hector’s last 15 games, he is pitching to a 1.47 ERA with 23 Ks through 18.2 innings. He has added a sinker to his arsenal and it seems to be elevating his game. Though his fastball and sinker are the same speed, the movement is different. Actually, the movement of the sinker more resembles the splitter. His sinker has been doing a really good job keeping the hitters off balance.
The hot streak for Bradley goes back even further. Over his last 30 games, Crash Landing has pitched to a 1.52 ERA over 29.2 innings. He hasn’t been striking people out, as evidenced by his career-low 13.9% K%, but his stuff has been working. He has been great pitching the eighth inning for the Phillies. It took a while, but his stuff is back to normal. His heater is normally sitting in the 95-96 mph range, looking more like his former self.
Also, he is the first Phillies reliever since Geoff Geary in 2006 to win 7+ games in a season. Talk about a blast from the past right there.
The Phillies needed some of the veterans arms in the bullpen to step up if they had any chance at the playoffs, and that they have. Both Neris and Bradley have helped the Phillies navigate games without any real bullpen depth.
Injuries to Sam Coonrod and Connor Brogdon have rocked an already beleaguered bullpen. Throw in the deadline acquisition Ian Kennedy, and the three of them have really nailed the bullpen down.
Though the bullpen is thin behind them, reinforcements are coming. Connor Brogdon seems close to returning from his injury. More fascinating, Seranthony Dominguez is currently rehabbing from Tommy John. He hasn’t pitched since 2019 due to arm injuries, but, when healthy, has electric stuff. His return is definitely a wildcard, but one that has the potential to be game-changing.
This bullpen is only getting stronger and at the exact right time. The Phillies are going to need all hands on deck if they want to.
Cincinnati, you’re next.
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