Following a disappointing series loss to the San Diego Padres, the Philadelphia Phillies (66-60) showed up in Boston and swept a two-game series with the Boston Red Sox (67-61) behind strong pitching and timely hitting. They have now won six of their last eight games and sit 1.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.
Here are three numbers that detail a solid, complete performance by the Phillies in this series:
7.1 – Scoreless Innings Pitched by the Phillies Bullpen
The Phillies offense, for the most part, has struggled during its last four games. This has put pressure on the Phillies bullpen to perform, and they have done that.
In this series, they shut down one of the best offenses in baseball, tossing 7.1 scoreless innings and preserving the Phillies small leads in both games.
Considering the state of the Phillies starting rotation – which, sans Aaron Nola, has been very bad – the bullpen is going to need to continue to show up like it has over the last month:
So far, Matt Klentak's July bullpen additions have worked out really well. The Phillies bullpen's MLB ranks since July 23rd:
ERA – 4th (3.36)
HR/9 – 5th (1.07)
WHIP – 7th (1.25)
K/BB – 7th (3.03)
Not perfect, but very good considering the 'pen problems earlier in the season.
— Jonny Heller (@jonnyheller) August 22, 2019
2.13 – Aaron Nola’s ERA in Last 12 Starts
Aaron Nola is back. After struggling to start the year, he has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in his last 12 starts:
Aaron Nola, first 15 starts: 81 IP, 4.89 ERA, 1.506 WHIP, 1.44 HR/9, 2.5 K/BB
Aaron Nola, 12 starts since: 80.1 IP, 2.13 ERA, 0.986 WHIP, 1.01 HR/9, 3.6 K/BB
— Jonny Heller (@jonnyheller) August 21, 2019
While the rest of the Phillies rotation has been an absolute mess, Nola is the one guy who has given them a great chance to win in every single start. They are 18-9 in his starts this year, leaving them 48-51 in games started by anyone else.
Six – Times on Base For Rhys Hoskins
Rhys Hoskins has been mired in a massive slump lately. Coming into this series, he had reached base only six times in his last eight games.
But, despite his struggles, Gabe Kapler left him in the lineup at the lead off spot, and it worked out well.
Hoskins scored three of the Phillies eight runs in the series, getting on base four times via walk and twice via base hit to set the table for the rest of the lineup.
There has been a lot of criticism of Kapler for having Hoskins leadoff, but he showed why it makes sense under the current circumstances. He’s not Andrew McCutchen, but he still manages to get on base at a high clip, which might make him the Phillies best option right now.
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