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June 26, 2024

Phillies quick hits: Brandon Marsh is back, Bryce Harper flexes in series win vs. Tigers

Marsh's 4-for-4 day closed out the series victory over the Tigers, while Harper continues to make his case for another NL MVP award.

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Phillies-Brandon-Marsh-Tigers_062624_USAT Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports

Brandon Marsh caught fire Wednesday in Detroit.

The Phillies took another series this week, handling two of three in Detroit, with both wins taken in dominant fashion.

The offense is heating up at the exact right time, with the All-Star Break around the corner and a potential surplus of Midsummer Classic performers who adorn red pinstripes looking more and more likely.

Before the team flies home for a short homestand this coming weekend against the Marlins, here are five things we saw from the Phils in another winning effort:

Bryce Harper is MVP hunting

Was Bryce Harper the best signing in Phillies history? The 2021 NL MVP looks poised to make another run at the award, which would be his third overall, as he is on yet another tear. He homered in each of the first two games of the series and collected five hits in those two before going 1-for-4 with a walk in the series finale.

In MVP odds across the betting world, Harper trails only Shohei Ohtani, the Dodgers DH who is slashing .320/.398/.634. Here's how Harper ranks among NL hitters:

CategoryStatNL Rank
Batting average.3026th
On base.4003rd
Offensive WAR3.23rd

Alec Bohm is in the mix too

He might not be having a better season than Harper, but Bohm is also firmly in the MVP conversation as he has burst out of a mid-season slump and is back to looking like the early-season star he was in the spring. Bohm had four hits against Detroit in the team's series-opening win and is a surefire pick to make his first All-Star team.

Bohm is fifth in batting average in the NL and leads the league in doubles. His 64 RBI were also tops in the league as of Wednesday morning and he is in the top 10 in basically every offensive metric. It's an intimidating 1-2 punch in the center of the Phillies' batting order.

Ranger Suárez is human

You know you have an ace on your hands when a bad day doesn't look like a bad day would for most professional pitchers. On Tuesday, Cy Young front-runner Ranger Suárez looked less than his typically locked-in self, allowing a season-high four runs. He battled through six innings and had decent stuff despite having one real hiccup in the fifth inning — with the offense failing him as he registered a loss for just the second time this season. 

“I thought he was fine,” manager Rob Thomson said (h/t “I’ve seen him better. When they scored in the fifth, I thought he got a couple up in the zone. There have been a lot of games where he got ahead more than he did tonight."

The fact that Suárez's worst outing of the entire season was a six-inning, four-run performance says a lot. He'll be able to bounce back at home on Sunday.

The Marsh factor

The Phillies have an outfield deficiency. Or at least they did. It's far from debilitating, but it's one of the few weaknesses the team could be addressing at the July trade deadline. 

Nick Castellanos has stepped up of late, amid rumors of the team trading for a right-handed hitting outfielder, but across the outfield, Brandon Marsh came alive Wednesday.

The lefty hit his first homer in months, a two-run go-ahead shot in the fourth inning and then tacked on two insurance runs in the fifth with a single. The four-hit performance lifted his batting average to .269 on the year (he was at .254 before the start of action Wednesday), and could finally force Rob Thomson to consider using him as an everyday player. 

With Johan Rojas in the minors, centerfield could remain his if he keeps this up.

Take it easy

The Phillies have two really easy opponents ahead on the ledger in the lowly last-place Marlins, who come to town for a four-game series, before they head to Chicago to play the Cubs, another team below .500 so far this season.

The National League as a whole is down, with just six of 15 teams boasting winning records thus far in 2024. The Braves in Atlanta will be the next real test for the NL-leading Phillies, followed by a three-game set at home with the second-best team in the league in the Dodgers. 

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