In a season full of peaks and valleys, the Phillies are rewarding us with their highest of highs after last week’s lowest low. Saturday night’s 7-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies was the Phils’ fifth straight win, their first such streak this season.
Things started off great in the top of the first, as Rockies starter Ryan Feltner, who had stymied the Phils three weeks ago, couldn’t find the strike zone. Nick Castellanos drove in Trea Turner with a single to open the scoring, and after a walk to Kyle Schwarber loaded the bases, Alec Bohm brought home two more with a single of his own. Yet another free pass loaded the bases once again for Kody Clemens, who drove in the fourth run of the inning with a fielder’s choice groundout.
Ranger Suárez took the mound for the first time in 2023 looking to secure the club’s fifth straight win. He wasn’t particularly sharp, yielding seven hits and one walk, but he pitched well enough to preserve the lead, holding the Rockies to three earned runs across 4.0 innings of work.
The standout pitching performance of the night came from the Phillies’ bullpen, as Connor Brogdon, Andrew Bellatti, Jeff Hoffman and Gregory Soto combined for 5.0 innings of one unearned run ball, striking out six combined and surrendering only one hit and walking one.
The Rockies were thrust into a similar situation, as Feltner exited the game after a scary situation in the bottom of the second when Nick Castellanos lined one back up the middle that struck Feltner directly in the head. The 26-year-old was able to walk off with some help, but seemed wobbly in doing so. Prayers all around the ballpark went up for a speedy recovery for Feltner.
In Feltner’s absence, Rockies Manager Bud Black called upon long man Peter Lambert, who was brilliant, holding Phillies hitters scoreless across 3.1 frames. Brent Suter tacked on another 2.0 shutdown innings of his own, as the game remained close at a 4-3 Phils advantage heading into the top of the eighth.
Jake Bird took the mound against the bottom of the Phillies order, and ran into trouble when Kody Clemens doubled to left field with two outs. Garrett Stubbs, who got the start in place of J.T. Realmuto who is nursing a sprained pinky finger, then singled to right to drive in a big insurance run.
Trea Turner walked to lead off the top of the ninth, and Bryce Harper came to the dish with a man on. Harper turned on a 1-2 curveball from Rockies de facto closer Pierce Johnson and blasted it deep into the right field seats to put the Phils on top 7-4, a score that would hold through the bottom of the frame.
Saturday night’s win was a nice breakthrough on multiple fronts, as both Clemens and Stubbs had nice games in rare starting opportunities, Suárez pitched for the first time this year, the bullpen was truly outstanding, and the offense was finally able to tack on crucial insurance runs late in a close game. Bryce Harper has continued his MVP-level production after returning from Tommy John surgery, providing a much needed jolt to a feast-or-famine lineup. Given the inconsistency we’ve seen from this team through the first five weeks of the season, it isn’t a surprise that tonight’s fifth straight win is their first such streak this year. Hopefully, this one will extend well beyond that mark, and the Phillies will begin their ascent to the top of the division.