Phillies Analysis

Phillies win in ‘pretty refreshing' way over Dodgers to open series

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It would be a hassle, for sure. But the Phillies wouldn’t really mind that much if there was some pretty intense traffic around the Sports Complex on Sunday, October 13.

See, that’s when the League Championship Series get underway. And from their perspective, playing at Citizens Bank Park would be well worth the inconvenience of whatever gridlock would result from the fact that the Eagles are hosting the Browns right across the street earlier that day.

It would mean that they were one step away from the World Series. Just as importantly, it would mean they’d locked down homefield advantage, at least for that critical round and possibly throughout. Those are the spoils that go to the victor of the most regular season games.

(Before anybody’s blood pressure starts to go up, the Phillies could still secure the whip hand without the additional access-egress headaches. Major League Baseball has yet to announce which league would go first. If it’s the AL, the Phillies would play the following night which would figure to lower the stress for motorists and SEPTA alike.)

The point of this little crystal baseball gazing experiment is that the Phillies would very much like to win more games than anybody else this year. Of course they would. They’re 32-13 (.711) at CBP this season and 26-19 (.577) everywhere else.

Which is why Tuesday night’s 10-1 win over the Dodgers before a sellout crowd of 43,065 Tuesday night had just a little extra pizzazz. And, remember, this was match-up that already featured the two best teams in the league. Plus, as a bonus, the opportunity to see the leading contenders for NL Most Valuable Player, Shohei Ohtani of Los Angeles and Bryce Harper of Philadelphia, on the same field.

“It’s another game,” said shortstop Trea Turner, whose grand slam in the fourth put the Phillies up by eight. “But, at the same time, you like to see where you stack up. That’s the first time we’ve played them this year. We haven’t been out there yet. The way we won I think is pretty refreshing and gives us confidence moving forward.”

The Phillies now hold a 4 ½ game lead over the Dodgers. And while making predictions at this point of the season is even more dicey than long term weather forecasts, it wouldn’t be a shock to see L.A. back in just over three months.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts started clearing his bench shortly after the Phillies scored three in the second and sixth in the fourth. Phillies manager Rob Thomson followed suit shortly after. Position player Kike Hernandez came in to pitch in the seventh for the Dodgers and recorded the last four outs.

Still, it would be foolish to read too much into this romp or to assume that the offense erupted just because Harper and designated hitter Kyle Schwarber were both back in the lineup for the first time since June 27.

“It felt like the squad is coming back together,” said leftfielder Brandon Marsh. “It’s a great feeling to get those guys back in the lineup. They’re such huge pieces to our team. We go nowhere without them. They lead the way and we follow. It’s good to have them back. They’re the face of our team.

“It was good to come out and make a statement, but now we’ve got to come out and do it again.”

Most of the damage came against Dodgers righthander Bobby Miller, who gave up nine earned runs on 10 hits and 3 walks in four innings. It was his third start since missing two months due to shoulder inflammation and raised his earned run average to 8.07.

It’s a safe bet he won’t be part of their postseason rotation unless he executes a dramatic U-turn between now and then.

Also, most of the damage came from Marsh, catcher Rafael Marchan and centerfielder Johan Rojas. The 7-8-9 hitters went a combined 7-for-9 with seven runs scored and three RBI. That included two doubles by Marchan and a homer by Marsh, who also walked and stole a base. Rojas reached in the seventh when hit on the hand by a pitch.

Rojas appeared as if he might be seriously injured by Thomson said after the game that he didn’t even need x-rays.

Postgame reports on starter Zack Wheeler, who left the game with tightness in his lower left back, were also encouraging.

And, in case you were wondering, the Eagles don’t have any home games scheduled during the World Series.

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