2 former Phillies relievers blank Marlins as NL East shifts

Edgar Garcia #58 of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
Edgar Garcia #58 of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /

Two ex-Phillies relievers helped their former team in the National League East standings on Saturday

On Saturday, August 22, the Philadelphia Phillies saw themselves in last place of the National League East — with a 9-14 record, five games back, and having lost five straight games.

Fast-forward to today, August 30, manager Joe Girardi‘s squad find themselves in the playoff picture — winners of five straight games and tied with the Miami Marlins for second place in the division, just two games back of the Atlanta Braves.

The tied has certainly turned. The Phillies have won five straight for the first time since August 5, 2018. Bryce Harper said the team needed to win 9 of their next 10 games after their skid, and they are more than halfway there.

And, thanks to two relievers who formerly donned red pinstripes, now on the Tampa Bay Rays — right-hander Edgar Garcia and left-hander Aaron Loup — they helped blank the Marlins Saturday evening 4-0, limiting them to just three hits on offense.

Garcia, who the Phillies recently dealt to their 2008 World Series opponent for a player to be named later, notched his second hold in three appearances already with the Rays, tossing a scoreless seventh on 15 pitches while allowing only one walk. Last week, Garcia recorded his first career save and became the ninth different Rays pitcher to earn one in the 2020 season.

Loup, who the Phillies acquired in July 2018 for then-minor leaguer Jacob Waguespack, tossed a scoreless eighth while punching out two batters.

The National League East appears to be shifting, with the Phillies on the rise and all other teams on the decline. The Braves continue to lead, but Phillies have helped cool them off in recent days to a two-game losing streak. The Marlins have now dropped three straight, while the fourth-place New York Mets and fifth-place Washington Nationals have each lost one in a row.

The Phillies will now take on the Braves in the series finale in search of a sweep on the nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball. Then, they will welcome the Nationals to Citizens Bank Park for four games; the Phillies beat the Nationals 8-3 and 3-2 last week, before the finale was postponed due to the Jacob Blake protests.