Go ahead, Phillies fans: Pinch yourselves.
Last Friday, we learned that the team had dismissed Joe Girardi with his underachieving club sporting a 22-29 record. A week later, interim manager Rob Thomson’s Phillies are riding a seven-game winning streak, one of the hottest teams in baseball.
Everything is going their way. Didi Gregorius tried to halt his swing Thursday and it turned into an RBI double in an 8-3 victory that finished off a sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I wasn’t going to swing, but apparently I made good contact,” Gregorius said with a laugh. “It was better than I thought it was going to be.”
Phillies fans are feeling the same way since Thomson took over. Now, can the Phils sustain it and actually get back into the NL East race? At 28-29, they at least are in the wild-card conversation. But it’s worth noting something about one of the teams above them in the standings: The Atlanta Braves also carried a seven-game winning streak into Thursday night’s game against the Pirates.
❓ It’s a small sample size in the Rob Thomson Era, but we have to ask: Are the Phillies for real? Can they make the playoffs? Email us back for a chance to be featured in the newsletter.
Gregorius fitting right in with ‘new’ Phillies
A lot changed in the five days Didi Gregorius spent on a rehab assignment at Lehigh Valley. Joe Girardi was still the manager. When he returned Sunday, Girardi had been fired, replaced by bench coach Rob Thomson. After falling to a season-high eight games under .500, the team was winning again. And Gregorius fit right into the new winning vibe, contributing “any way that you can,” including a being a homer away from the cycle in Thursday’s win over the Brewers.
Next: The Phillies return home to open a series against Arizona at 7:05 p.m. Friday (NBCSP). Kyle Gibson (3-2, 4.40 ERA) will start against Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen (4-1, 2.40).
Got to have Gauthier?
The Flyers hold the fifth overall pick in next month’s NHL draft, but while there seem to be a consensus top three prospects, the decision at No. 5 is a lot more muddled.
There likely are five or six players in the conversation for the Flyers at that spot, including U.S. National Team Development Program center Cutter Gauthier. Olivia Reiner caught up with Gauthier last week at the draft combine to learn about his path to becoming a top prospect, what skills he thinks he thinks he can bring an NHL franchise, and more.
The race is on to make the World Cup roster, but certain naysayers act as if any player in Major League Soccer should have an automatic handicap in United States men’s team coach Gregg Berhalter’s estimation.
Yet whatever the expectations from European-league-enamored fans who rate players who have gone abroad higher, there’s no doubt that Cristian Roldan is an accomplished, effective player, what they themselves might term, “neat and tidy” if they were objective enough to assess him without bias.
Jonathan Tannenwald takes stock of a player whose stock has risen partly from consistency.
Next: The USMNT hosts Grenada on Friday at 10 p.m. in Austin, Texas (UniMás, TUDN, ESPN+) in the Concacaf Nations League.
Worth a look
Belmont Stakes: We the People is the favorite on Saturday. Can Derby winner Rich Strike strike it rich again? Here’s our rundown on Saturday’s race, including predictions. And here’s where to bet on the Belmont in our area.
NCAA track and field championships: Penn’s Marc Minichello won the men’s javelin on Wednesday. Villanova’s Sean Dolan qualified for Friday’s 800-meter men’s final.
Run is done: West Chester University’s stint in the Division II College World Series is over.
LPGA at the Shore: Former tour player Meaghan Francella is returning to the course to play in the ShopRite LPGA Classic starting Friday on the Bay Course at Seaview in Galloway, N.J.
Title IX explained: Giana Han offers a primer on the landmark law that has impacted sports for 50 years.
We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Jonathan Tannenwald, Brett Friedlander, Scott Lauber, Olivia Reiner, Ed Barkowitz, Katie Kohler, Joe Juliano, Giana Han, and Melanie Heller.