More Sports:

June 04, 2023

Five awards from the Phillies' series win over the Nationals

The Phillies rebounded in Washington, taking two of three from the Nationals with the help of power at the plate from J,T. Realmuto, Drew Ellis and Kyle Schwarber.

Ending the weekend on a positive note? That's a plus for everyone. Down in D.C. to take on the last-place Nationals, the Phillies took two of three from Washington, "improving" their record to 27-32. 

Here are the results from the series:

Friday: Nationals 8, Phillies 7

Saturday: Phillies 4, Nationals 2

Sunday: Phillies 11, Nationals 3

As we always do, here are five awards from the series that was for the Fightins...

The "Shelled" Award: Zack Wheeler 🐚

After an uneven start to 2023, Zack Wheeler looked to be on the upswing as of late. In his most recent start against Atlanta, Wheeler was the dominant force he was earlier in his Phillies tenure, striking out 12 batters in eight innings of no-run ball, picking up a W in the process. Perhaps it was foolish optimism, but I assumed that Wheeler would round into form. 

Against Washington, however, he got shelled. 

In Friday's loss, Wheeler didn't even make it four full innings, surrendering seven runs, bringing his ERA on the year up to 4.33. That's his highest mark since 2017. It's a worrisome trend for Wheeler in his age-33 campaign after battling injuries last season. 

The "All Hands on Deck" Award: Phillies bullpen 🚢

In a bullpen start on Saturday, the Phillies used seven different pitchers, but allowed just two runs in the 4-2 win. Huge. Matt Strahm, working as The Opener, didn't allow a base-runner in the first two innings. Six of those seven hurlers didn't allow a run outside of Dylan Covey, who surrendered two runs and four hits in two innings of work. 

After the offense retook the lead at 3-2 in the sixth inning, Gregory Soto, Seranthony Domínguez and Craig Kimbrel shut things down the rest of the way.

Again... huge. 

The "He Has a Pulse" Award: J.T. Realmuto ⚡

A familiar theme for this roster... J.T. Realmuto is having his worst season in red pinstripes. Coming into this series in D.C., Realmuto, the artist formerly known as the best catcher in baseball, was hitting .256 with an OPS of .726 and just three home runs. Those are easily the worst marks of his Phillies career and that's the lowest OPS he's posted since his age-24 season in 2015. 

Realmuto found some pop against the Nationals though, homering twice in the series. The first was a solo homer on Saturday, breaking a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning on the way to a 4-2 win:

He also broke things open on Sunday with another solo shot in the second inning to put the Phillies up 1-0 on the road to victory:

More bombs like that are needed if the Phillies are going to make noise in the playoff race.

The "HoagieFest Is Here Again" Award: Kyle Schwarber 🥪

June Schwarber. SchwarberFest. Whatever you want to call it, Kyle Schwarber is feeling it again after a bumpy start to the 2023 campaign. After picking up three hits across the first two games of the series, Schwarber launched a three-run homer in the sixth inning on Sunday to pad the Phils' lead over the Nats to 5-1:

Oh, and he ripped another three-run shot in the ninth inning as the Phils pounded the Nationals, this time to the opposite field:

Schwarber home run prop bets are going to rise exponentially over the next couple of weeks. 

The "WHO?" Award: Drew Ellis 🤨

In his fourth game as a Phillie, 27-year-old Drew Ellis got the start at third base. This is just the 39th major league game Ellis has played, with sparse appearances previously for Arizona and Seattle. In Sunday's rubber match with things tied up at one in the top of the first inning, Ellis hit a solo shot over the left field wall, marking just the second homer of his career and first for the Fightins:

That wasn't the end of it! With the Phillies piling things on late, Ellis went yard again:

Trea Turner is a disaster and Drew Ellis is raking, just as everyone predicted. 

Cranky take incoming... I wrote about this at length last year, but I hate that the organization is giving out No. 35 to back-of-the-roster players. Last time I checked, there were only two guys in the Phillies' horrific 150-year history who won World Series MVP honors. One was Cole Hamels, who, of course, wore No. 35. This franchise is weird when it comes to giving props to former players, but just retire that thing. 

BONUS... The "Web Gem" Award: Kody Clemens 🕸️

For a defensively challenged roster like the Phillies, pretty good plays in the field make you feel like you're watching Ozzie Smith or Brooks Robinson out there. In the bottom of the fifth, first baseman Kody Clemens made a heck of a play out there for the second out of the inning, diving to his right before firing it to Ranger Suárez covering at first.

Nationals outfielder Alex Call, who was on second, was only able to advance to third base instead of scoring outright and tying the game on a would-be hit. In the following at-bat, Suárez forced a weak ground out to second base, preserving the 2-1 lead. 

I could not find a video of this play on Twitter to include here, but take my word for it: that was a game-saving play. I'll only include it as a "bonus" award given that lack of video evidence. 

Next Up: Motor City takes South Philly 🚗

The Detroit Tigers (26-30) come to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game set beginning Monday night. Here are the probable pitchers for the series:

 DateTigers  Phillies
6/5, 6:40 p.m. Joey Wentz (L) Aaron Nola (R) 
6/6, 6:40 p.m. TBD  Taijuan Walker (R)
6/7, 6:05 p.m. TBD Zack Wheeler (R) 

The Wentz jokes write themselves.

Follow Shamus & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @shamus_clancy | @thePhillyVoice

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports

Add Shamus' RSS feed to your feed reader