The Philadelphia Phillies offense has underwhelmed to this point in 2021. But, that would have been hard to tell when watching their games against the Washington Nationals on Saturday and Sunday.
After scoring just one run against Max Scherzer and the Nationals on Friday, the Phillies lineup led the team to two consecutive wins to take the weekend series.
Here are three numbers to remember from the much-needed series win for the Phillies:
17 – Number of runs scored by the Phillies in last two games
This season, the Phillies have missed that big inning that fueled their high-powered offense in 2020. But this weekend, they were carried by it.
On Saturday, the Phillies exploded for a four-run fourth inning to take a 4-1 lead, capped by a three-run home run from Andrew McCutchen. On Sunday, it was a seven-run fourth inning that put the game away.
Outside of the 17-run outburst last Wednesday, this has been a struggling offense of late. For them to come alive the way they did was big, and will need to continue to happen in order for them to play better baseball than they did in the month of May.
.500 – Andrew McCutchen’s batting average in series
McCutchen has struggled for a bulk of this season, but he has begun to turn it on of late. This continued against the Nationals – McCutchen went 5-for-10, and is beginning to hit like the player they signed to a $50 million contract prior to the 2019 season.
His biggest hit of the series came on Saturday, when he crushed a three-run home run to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead.
In his last five games, McCutchen is slashing .500/.579/1.188 with three home runs and two doubles. For the Phillies to remain competitive within the NL East, they need his production to continue trending this way.
Four – Number of Phillies errors in series
For a time on Saturday, the Phillies offense was flat, and it looked like they would lose due to poor play on the defensive side. In the third inning, Juan Soto grounded a ball to Jean Segura that should have resulted in an inning-ending double play. Instead, the ball went between Segura’s legs, and the Nationals scored on the play to take the lead.
Luckily for the Phillies, the offensive outburst put them in a position to win the game. But it was a continuation of a trend that has been there all season: the Phillies have struggled to play the type of fundamental baseball that is conducive to winning games.
It isn’t only errors in the field. On Friday, when Rhys Hoskins doubled to begin the bottom of the ninth, it looked like the Phillies were in position to tie the game. But pinch-runner Travis Jankowski got caught stealing by catcher Alex Avila, who ran all the way from home plate to tag him out.
The Phillies offense saved them in this series, but for them to remain in any kind of contention, they have to clean up their mistakes throughout the diamond.
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