You know how you can tell if a pitcher is on his game? When he strikes out baseballs most powerful hitter three times in a ball game. Jeremy Hellickson was dealing on Wednesday afternoon as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Miami Marlins 4-2 at Citizens Bank Park.
Giancarlo Stanton had to take a piece of pine three times when facing Hellickson as he just looked lost not only today but for the entire series. Stanton went hitless in 10 at-bats this three-game series, striking out nine times. Hellickson was tagged for two early runs but kept his composer as he took down a dangerous Stanton and let his offense back him up.
The righty Hellickson would notch his fourth win of the season, allowing two earned runs in six innings of work.
Super utility man Andres Blanco doubled in David Lough in the bottom of the third to make the game 2-1. This was after Lough reached on an error and Cesar Hernandez moved him into scoring position when he reached base on a bunt-single.
Cameron Rupp drove in both Blanco and Hernandez on a one-out single to centerfield, putting the Phils up 3-2.
Rookie Tyler Goeddel added some insurance in the 8th by hitting his first career home run to left-center field. He came back to the dugout and was given the silent treatment, but that did not take the wide grin off his face.
The Phillies, with a record of 24-17, went into a virtual tie atop the National League East division with Washington, prior to their game Wednesday night against the Mets.
Tony Kornheiser from ESPNs Pardon the Interruption described the Phillies in one word: unanalytical. Which is the perfect description for this ball club. Nobody could have predicted this hot of a start.
One question needs to be answered in why Pete Mackanin opted to start Ryan Howard, whose average continues drop lower each passing day. The Big Piece went 0-4 with two punch outs on Wednesday, dropping his season batting average to .168, which ranks dead last among qualifying MLB hitters. Perhaps it would have been wise to ride the hot bat of Tommy Joseph who had himself a night in Tuesdays game.
The Phils are off on Thursday and open a three-game weekend series at home against Atlanta on Friday.