Phillies claimed biggest win of the season before important road trip
Lead of hitter Bryson Stott was down to his final strike in the bottom of the ninth with the Phillies trailing the Diamondbacks 5-3. In a 2-2 count, Stott ripped a single up the middle to keep the game alive for Philadelphia.
Trea Turner stepped to the plate as the tying run. Entering the at-bat, Turner was struggling mightily as he was 0 for 4 on the day and having one of his worst statistical starts of his career in 2023. After being booed off the field after an ugly strikeout the previous at-bat, Turner flipped the game and possibly the season on its head.
Turner hit the first pitch of the at-bat deep to left field for a no-doubt home run, tying the game at five a piece. The home run was monumental in the game, moving Philadelphia's win probability from 4.4% all the way to 53.3%, a 48.9% increase.
In the following inning, Alec Bohm hit a walk off single to complete the comeback, winning the game 6-5.
The win was humongous for the struggling Phillies as they enter one of the toughest parts of their schedule in 2023. Sitting at seven games behind the Braves in the National League East Division standings, Philadelphia enters a gauntlet ahead. The team will play on a ten-game road trip facing three teams all within the division.
Because of the schedule changes in 2023, Philadelphia has only played one series or three games against a NL East rival. In the beginning of April, the Phillies hosted the Miami Marlins for a series. Since that point, the Phillies have played teams all outside of the division.
To start this long road trip, Philadelphia travels to Atlanta to face the Braves in a four-game set. The Braves in 2023 have been doing what they have done the past half-decade. At 30-19 on the season, the Braves are the best team in the National League and a top-five team in the major leagues. They are the only team in the NL East with a positive run differential and have been a dominant force throughout the entire season.
Following the weekend series against the Braves, the Phillies will travel to Queens to face the New York Mets. The Mets are .500 on the season, at 25-25. With the Mets just 1.5 games ahead of the Phillies in the standings, this series will be pivotal for the rest of the summer in the Wild Card Race. Regarded as one of the team's biggest rivals, the matchup always one the Phillies look forward to.
To finish off the road trip, Philadelphia faces Washington in a three game set. The Phillies are currently two games ahead of the Nationals in the standings and looks to increase their lead. Entering the season, the Nationals were expected to be one of the worst teams in the Major Leagues and so far they have met those expectations. The Phillies will hope to get a sweep in Washington with many former Nationals returning home.
So with this road trip coming up, why was the late inning win against the Diamondbacks so important?
For one, we saw Trea Turner step up in a big situation for the first time in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform. The shortstop has not performed to his capabilities so far in Philadelphia and he knows it. A he said in the post-game press conference, he understands the boos.
However, the flash of clutch hitting from Turner shows a step in the right direction for him and the ball club. If Turner is able to heat up as the summer begins, we could see production from the powerhouse lineup that leads the MLB.
Another reason why the win was so important was that we saw a glimmer of what the 2022 postseason run so special, the never die attitude. Often in 2023, the Phillies have fallen behind early in games due to poor starting pitching and were not able to make a comeback. Wednesday afternoon's game was different.
When trailing 5-0 in the third, the offense showed no ability to hit against the NL Cy Young Favorite, Zac Gallen. The only hit off Gallen through the first four innings was a drag bunt that backup catcher and nine-hole hitter Garrett Stubbs was able to beat out. Despite the lack of offense and large deficit, the team didn't go away. Ranger Suarez and the bullpen settled in and delivered seven scoreless innings to end the game.
The offense was finally able to break through with three runs in the sixth. Then, in the ninth inning with two outs, Trea Turner tied the game up. The win showed the never die attitude and the ability for the team to actually mount a comeback, which before Wednesday's game, we rarely saw this season.
The win was important overall because it bridged a gap entering the road trip. If the Phillies were to have lost the game, they would have entered the road trip straight off of getting swept at home. Instead, the team got a big win before hitting the road that they can build off of as summer approaches.
Only time will tell if the momentum from the win will lead to bigger things in 2023.