Series Six Pack of Notes/Highlights:
1. Aaron Nola shined in game one of the series. He pitched 7.1 innings giving up three runs but just two earned while striking out six and walking none. He had a perfect game entering the fifth where he ran into a bit of trouble but was able to escape with just the two earned runs. He refound his groove for the next two innings and then went out for the eighth before handing the ball off to the bullpen. This is the Aaron Nola the Phillies will look to lean on as the season winds down and they make their anticipated postseason push.
2. Schwarber continues his onslaught of hits and homeruns. He hit his 26th homerun on the first pitch of the game in the series opener making it his fourth game in a row. In game two he went 1-4 but had a clutch two-run single that tied the game up in the 5th inning. He has also been surprising stable in left field, even leaping at the wall to make a terrific catch the prevent any damage to a cruising Nola. The Phillies are 12-0 when Schwarber hits a homerun and is in the leadoff spot.
3. The Phillies continued to fall behind early in games. Game two started with a three run rally in the second inning and in game three a three run homerun in the third inning. Game two they were able to fit back just to ultimately lose but game three spiraled from the get-go and the offense couldn’t recover. Similar to the last series against the Padres, Phillies found themselves down by three in multiple games. It is vital that they come out swinging in the next series to limit the stress on the starters and bullpen.
4. In the bottom of the 6th inning in the second game, Hoby Milner came in to face Bryce Harper. Milner, a former Phillie, has an odd left-handed release point that can be difficult to pick up. Harper proceeded to leave his bat on his shoulder and take six straight pitches to strikeout. It was definitely odd and he clearly had no intention to swing the bat. It led to people speculating if there was something wrong with Harper. Rob Thomson addressed it with the media stating that Harper was simply going up there taking a couple pitches to get used the arm slot and the count ran full. He had thought he would be walked so he kept taking pitches but it was definitely bizarre to see.
5. The Phillies for the series were 3-21 with RISP. That comes out to be a .143 batting average and that will absolutely not cut it. On the season, they are hitting .259 with RISP which is in the middle of the pack and a lot more respectable. Clutch hits have been hard to come by at times during this season but recently they have been getting it done at the plate with the ducks on the pond. The Phillies need to take advantage of those opportunities as they arise to give their pitching staff support and to give this team a chance to win.
6. Darick Hall has not had a season to remember. He injured his thumb at the start of the season and after a lengthy rehab, was sent to AAA to get work in before being called back up. In his rehab stint, he hit .330 with three homeruns and 15 RBI in just 88 at bats. However, in his 53 plate appearances since being called back up, he is slashing .176/.208/.462 with just one homerun and three RBI. It has been a major struggle for the left-handed power hitter. With Bryce Harper expected to make his first base debut in the upcoming series and the trade deadline looming, playing time may be hard to come by for Hall who has not performed up to standard.