Washington – The Phillies needed to win two games on Friday. But when the last stages of Hurricane Ian made that impossible, they did the next best thing.
They won one.
They’re looking for two people on Saturday.
If Ian cooperated.
Desperate for wins to maintain their lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the final National League playoff berth, the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals, 5-1, in the first game of a vital four-game series on Friday afternoon. The two teams were supposed to play a second game Friday night, but that match was postponed due to rain 30 minutes before kick-off.
Saturday’s forecast is not promising but the teams will try to play twice again. A separate double header is scheduled for entry at 1pm and 7pm Kyle Gibson will start Phillies’ first game and Noah Syndergaard will get the ball in game two.
If it rains again on Saturday, teams will try to play a double header on Sunday. One game is scheduled to start at 1:35 PM for that day.
If weather prevents the Phillies and Nationals from completing the four-game series, the Phillies will return to Washington to play a game Thursday, the day before the playoffs begin, if that game affects the elimination race.
The Phillies are scheduled to conclude the regular season with games in Houston on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
After the disaster in Chicago, the Phillies were very happy with their win once on Friday afternoon. Their lead over Milwaukee is still half a game.
Prior to their arrival in Washington, the Phillies family were swept up in the Chicago Cubs, increasing their loser slide to five at an inopportune time. The Phillies offense was brutal, as they scored only three runs and stayed home in all three games at Wrigley Field. That’s why Rhys Hoskins’ first game against Washington’s right-hander Eric Fade was so big on Friday.
“It brings more power and noise into the bunker,” Hoskins said of the timing, but I think, really, just a first-half ride would go a long way for us out there. I think everyone should take a deep breath, knowing that we can still score goals.
“Again, Chicago hasn’t been so good, plain and simple, but we know we’re still in it. We still have a chance as long as we keep focusing on what’s ahead.”
The Phillies, who have not gone beyond the season since 2011, control their fate. With six matches remaining, their magic number on the Brewers is five. That includes the tiebreak won by winning the season series against the Brewers.
The Brewers had a chance to beat the Phillies on Thursday night, but blew up a late 2-0 lead when Miami’s Avicel Garcia netted a massive eighth-half lead to give his side a 4-2 win.
Once upon a time, the Marlins were the Phillies killers, the initiators of the Phillies’ post-season hopes. This time, they were Velez’s assistants. A Brewers win would have sent them half a game before the Phillies entered Friday’s table.
The Phillies were on their way from the airport to the team hotel in Washington when Garcia smashed the Grand Slam that kept the Phillies ahead of the Brewers.
“We just landed,” Hoskins said. “We were on the bus, all huddled around the phone. It was great watching her.”
“I’m a huge fan of Avisail Garcia.”
In addition to Homer’s first half, Hoskins had an RBI hit on Friday’s win. Billy Walter, who was roughed up by Atlanta on his earlier start, made six runs.
“After my poor performance in my last rounds, I was relieved to go there and give the team a chance to win,” Walter said. “The boys earned it. I was glad I handed it to them.”
Walter spent the season filling in the starting for injured beginners and those who might need a break. You did it well. The team is 7-2 in its last nine games.
Avicel Garcia’s Grand Slam win on Thursday night and Phillies’ win over Washington on Friday afternoon may be a booster shot that will strengthen this team and propel them beyond the season. Sure, the Phillies need to take some hay against Washington, the worst team for the majors — the Phils 14-2 against the Nats — because Houston looms next week and the 102-win Astros, who will play a first-round playoff. Goodbye, determined to play their big guns until the end of the regular season. Justin Verlander, who leads the ERA majors, will present one of the matches next week against Velez.
Six games to go. The race is tight. But the Phillies are still in the driver’s seat – even after they drowned in Chicago.
“Chicago stinks,” Hoskins said. “It bounced back on us. Look, we’re competitors, we care, maybe we care a lot sometimes. But in this game, you can’t focus on things for long. Where we want to be.”