Coming off a frustrating loss to the visiting Washington Nationals, the Philadelphia Phillies still have an opportunity to clinch a series victory in the finale of the three-game set on Thursday.
The Phillies managed only four hits in a 3-2 setback on Wednesday, but three came from red-hot Kyle Schwarber, who homered twice.
Schwarber has four home runs in the last two games to become the first Philadelphia player to post back-to-back multi-homer games since Chase Utley in 2006.
“He’s on another level right now,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said of Schwarber, who leads the National League with 27 home runs. “He’s really swinging the bat.”
Schwarber, whose career high of 38 homers came in 2019, is attempting to maintain his approach at the plate.
“Same stuff every single day,” he said. “I just want to go in the game and put in a quality at-bat. … I’m not trying to go up there and hit home runs.”
Nick Castellanos was the only other Philadelphia player to collect a hit on a night when the team struck out 16 times. Alec Bohm went 0-for-3 and had his career-best, nine-game hitting streak end.
“Just one of those nights,” Thomson said.
Bailey Falter (0-2, 4.88 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Phillies on Thursday. Falter is 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in four career games, including one start, against Washington.
The Nationals snapped a six-game losing streak with the Wednesday win, and now they will aim for their third series victory in their past four sets.
Luis Garcia led the way on Wednesday with two hits and two RBIs, and Yadiel Hernandez contributed three hits and an RBI.
“I’ve said it all year — these guys play hard,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “They’re relentless. They don’t quit.”
Juan Soto, back after missing two games due to a left calf strain, added two hits, a walk and a run.
“I talked to the trainers and they said he looked good,” Martinez said of Soto. “He ran a couple of little turns in the outfield and he felt fine. The stop-and-go, for me right now, is probably going to be a little bit of an issue. But I told him to run through the base and just take it easy.”
It was just the Nationals’ seventh win all season in 36 games against National League East opposition. And Washington did it without Nelson Cruz, who remained out due to a stomach illness. Cruz has yet to play in the series, and his status was unclear for Thursday.
The Nationals will hand the ball to Joan Adon (1-11, 6.97 ERA). The 23-year-old right-hander made his most recent major league start against the Phillies, when he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings during a 5-3 loss on June 17. It was the first time he had faced Philadelphia.
Following that outing, Adon was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. He made just one start in the minors — allowing one run, which was unearned, in five innings — before getting recalled to the majors for the Thursday outing.
“As I told him: … Just focus on the here and now,” Martinez said. “You’re getting an opportunity to pitch again here. Let’s just focus on getting outs, right from the first inning on. Just go out there and have fun. The biggest thing is he understands how we feel about him. He’s going to be here. We want him to be here for a long time.”
–Field Level Media