Final score: Phillies 7, Nationals 4
It may not be sustainable, but the Philadelphia Phillies have found a recipe.
They scored seven runs — no more, no fewer — on Monday for the fifth consecutive game. It’s the second-longest streak of exactly seven runs in Major League history. More importantly, it gave the Phillies their fourth win in five games, putting them three over the .500 mark.
It’s intuitive: Score a lot of runs, win a lot of games. The Phillies will need to do each of those things many times over the last month of the season to break into the playoff mix. Monday helped their case; they’re now three games back of the Cincinnati Reds, who hold the second NL Wild Card and lost on Monday. They’ll also finish the day no more than 4 1/2 games back of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, and that number could shrink to 3 1/2.
Bryce Harper was the tone-setter for the offense. His two-run homer in the top of the first inning was the 100th of his career at Nationals Park, eight of which have come as a member of the Phillies. His 10th home run of August raised his OPS at the time to 1.013; it finished the game at 1.008 (tops in baseball, as of the final out).
The lead would soon shrink, however, before it expanded once again.
Zack Wheeler, who was off from the get-go, conceded two runs in the second inning before Ronald Torreyes tripled three home in the top of the third, putting the Phillies up by four runs.
Wheeler battled from then on out. He departed after the sixth inning with a 7-4 Phillies lead, onset by a 400-foot shot from Carter Kieboom, a 433-foot Brad Miller blast into right center field and a wild pitch.
The home run wasn’t Miller’s only contribution. He went 3-for-3 with two walks on the night, reaching base five times for the first time in his Major League career.
As they tend to do, things got a little tense for the Phillies in the later innings. Connor Brogdon brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the eighth with one out, but Archie Bradley — who had struggled in his most recent appearance Sunday — retired Kieboom and Luis García to end the threat. Then, in the ninth, a leadoff double and José Alvarado’s 40th walk of the season put the equalizer at bat with nobody out.
But the seven runs were enough. Alvarado settled down and retired the next three — one of which was the always-dangerous Juan Soto — and that was that.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Josiah Gray: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 83 pitches
Gray had a hard time keeping Phillies hitters off balance all throughout his night. Walks and Bryce Harper were Gray’s two biggest issues: Those were in some way responsible for five of the six runs he allowed. Gray punched out Harper to end his outing, but the damage was done. The 23-year-old’s ERA rounds out at 4.73.
Zack Wheeler: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO, 95 pitches
Wheeler has not been at his sharpest in his last few starts. He was not at his sharpest on Monday, either. It was evident in the first inning, when he threw 31 pitches including three consecutive walks. Despite several high-stress innings and spotty command, Wheeler ended up going six for the ninth consecutive start. (His ERA in those starts is 4.43.) His season ERA climbed over three. Perhaps the workload is affecting him: He’s thrown 182 2/3 innings this year, tops in MLB.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Tuesday, August 31 vs. Washington Nationals at Nationals Park
- 7:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- ‘I’m A Little Different Than Most’: Meet The Phillies’ Eccentric New Pitching Prospect
- Cole Hamels Hopes To Pitch In 2022
- Bryce Harper Offers To Fill In At Catcher
- Phillies Reportedly Are ‘Favorites’ To Sign Highly-Touted Venezuelan Prospect
- Ask Phillies Nation: Which Reliever Should The Phillies Re-Sign?
- Spencer Howard Gives Incredible Quote On His Time In Philly
- Phillies Nuggets: What Now For Alec Bohm
- Phillies Nuggets: Who’s Up Next On The Wall Of Fame?
- ‘Man I Throw Hay Bales On A Trailer’: Christian McGowan Comes From Small Town To Phillies
- Phillies 2021 Walk-Up Songs