Final Score: Dodgers 7, Phillies 4
Reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper returned to the lineup for the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday, just in time to bear witness to a dominant performance from another likely future Hall of Famer, Mookie Betts.
The five-time All-Star tied the game with a 383-foot home run in the top of the third inning, his third homer in his last four games against the Phillies:
Two innings after he took Aaron Nola deep on a 3-2 count, Betts came through with two outs and a full count by doubling to score Gavin Lux and Chris Taylor.
Even though Betts was picked off by José Alvarado in the top of the seventh inning, he quickly made you forget about that in the home frame.
A five-time Gold Glove Award winner, Betts initially misjudged a ball that Alec Bohm lined to right field with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning. Not only did Betts recover in time to make the catch, but to fire a perfect strike home to double up Odúbel Herrera and end the inning:
After the game, Joe Girardi said he was fine with the decision to send Herrera by third-base coach Dusty Wathan, even if that meant banking on a bad throw from an outfielder who doesn’t make too many of those as Harper waited in the on-deck circle.
“Well, yeah, I mean he made a really good throw,” Girardi said. “I mean, there’s a lot of things that can happen that can go your way, it just didn’t.”
In the end, Betts ended up being too much for the Phillies Saturday. Mike Trout is unquestionably the best player of this era. But Betts is probably No. 2, and that will on full display as the Dodgers clinched a series victory.
“It’s a great player having a great night is what it is,” Girardi said of Betts. “I mean, I’ve seen him do it for a long time and he’s a great player. And the thing about Mookie is there’s nothing he can’t do, right? He hits for power … he hits for average … takes walks … he steals bases … plays very good defense … he throws … he covers a lot of ground. He’s just a great player.”
With the loss, the Phillies fall to 18-22. The Dodgers — who are looking to fend off the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants in the National League West — are now 27-12.
The Phillies will send Zach Eflin to the mound Sunday, as they look to avoid being swept by the Dodgers. Before that happens, here are a few other takeaways from Saturday evening’s Phillies loss.
Alec Bohm Apparently Reads Phillies Nation
I got to Citizens Bank Park earlier than usual Saturday afternoon to prepare a story about how for as much success as Alec Bohm has had at singling in 2022, only eight of his 36 hits were of the extra-base variety and he hadn’t homered since April 28.
In his pre-game media availability, I asked Joe Girardi when we might start to see some of Bohm’s singles turn into extra-base hits.
“I wish I had a crystal ball, right? You know, the big thing is that he had good at-bats,” Girardi said. “I think you can get caught up with trying to hit home runs, and that probably hurts you, right? So just continue to hit the ball hard, and things will take care of themselves.”
Things did take care of themselves this evening, with Bohm launching a 401-foot home run in the bottom of the third inning to give the Phillies their first lead of the game:
This was Bohm’s 14th career home run, and the fifth that traveled 400 feet or more. The average distance on Bohm’s first 14 homers has been 398 feet. If he ever consistently unlocks his power, look out.
Passing Of The Torch?
There will be no Oscars jokes in this space about Philadelphia legend Will Smith.
But one of the most famous people from the city has multiple people in the sporting world who share his name, including Dodgers’ catcher Will Smith. In fact, it’s possible that Smith has surpassed J.T. Realmuto and Salvador Perez as the best catcher in baseball.
In limited action against Relamuto and the Phillies, the 27-year-old has been excellent. With his 383-foot home run Saturday, Smith now has three home runs and a .351 career batting average against the Phillies.
Since the start of the 2021 season, Smith’s 5.3 fWAR is the top mark among all catchers, edging out Relamuto’s 5.0 mark.
- Mitch White got the ball as the opener for Dave Roberts and company, and allowed three hits and three earned runs over 2 1/3 innings. The 27-year-old also struck out two batters, while walking one.
- Aaron Nola got burned twice by Mookie Betts with two strikes Saturday, allowing a home run in the top of the third inning and a two-run double in the fifth. While he probably shouldn’t have come back out to start the sixth inning, he did get Trea Turner to strike out swinging before allowing a game-tying home run off the bat of Smith. Nola struck out nine over 5 1/3 innings against the Dodgers, but a couple pitches ultimately doomed his evening.
What more really needs to be said?
- Sunday, May 22 vs. Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park
- 1:35 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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