It would’ve been perfectly reasonable if the Phillies got a police escort to the airport Thursday in Washington. The locals surely wanted them to leave town as quickly as possible.
The Phillies whooped up on the Nationals again, finishing a sweep of a three-game series only a few weeks after a four-game brooming. They went 9-1 at Nationals Park, the most wins by an opponent in one season since the place opened in 2008.
But if Washington’s ballpark felt like a home away from home, the Phillies’ destination this weekend — Marlins Park — hasn’t been welcoming. They are 7-12 there since the start of 2019. Last year, they showed up in Miami with the fifth-best record in the National League and dropped five of seven games, a crushing blow to their playoff aspirations.
As the Phillies take a six-game winning streak into a series against the Marlins that begins tonight, they are two games off the pace in both the NL East and wild-card races. What shape will they be in when they leave Sunday?
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Call him crazy, but Andrew McCutchen had a feeling the Phillies could overcome an early 6-0 deficit against the Nationals.
Aaron Nola is “kind of tired of hearing about” his tendency to struggle in September. But starts such as yesterday’s won’t silence the chatter.
Really cool story here from Matt Breen, who caught up with former Phillies closer and 1987 Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian after his son, Cam, got called up from triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Given the Phillies’ use of J.T. Realmuto at first base, I can’t help but wonder if his staying power as a workhorse catcher is being tested sooner than they expected.
Tonight: Kyle Gibson vs. Marlins lefty Jesús Luzardo in Miami, 7:10 p.m.
Tomorrow: Ranger Suárez faces the Marlins, 6:10 p.m.
Sunday: Zack Wheeler starts the series finale in Miami, 1:10 p.m.
Monday: The Phillies play a Labor Day matinee in Milwaukee, 2:10 p.m.
Tuesday: Aaron Nola faces the NL Central-leading Brewers, 7:40 p.m.
Stat of the day
With yet another come-from-behind victory over the Nationals on Thursday, the Phillies made history. It marked the seventh time this season that they overcame a deficit of at least three runs to beat Washington. No team in the modern era had won more than six games like that against one opponent in a season.
The Phillies also have won eight games in a row against the Nats, their longest streak since a nine-gamer in 2009.
From the mailbag
Send questions by email or on Twitter @ScottLauber.
Question: As impressive as Bryce [Harper] has been this year, I can’t help but think his numbers could be even better with some better luck. Can you tell me how many balls he has hit over 95 mph and what is batting average is on those? And can you compare that to the MLB average? Thanks. — Kevin B., via email
Answer: Thanks, Kevin. Hmm. Interesting observation. Let’s dig into the numbers to see if you’re onto something. Be right back.
(Go ahead and cue up some sweet elevator music.)
OK, entering play Thursday, 142 balls had left Harper’s bat at an exit velocity of 95 mph or more, according to Statcast, tied for 63rd in the majors. That was a 7.7% hard-hit rate. (Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads all qualified hitters with a 10.8% hard-hit rate.)
Harper’s batting average on those pitches was .535, slightly lower than teammates Jean Segura (.549), Rhys Hoskins (.542), and Brad Miller (.542). But it appears the MLB average was .499. So, for what it’s worth, the numbers would seem to indicate that he hasn’t been unlucky.