The Phillies could not have ended August and began September on a worse note. They finished a road trip through Arizona and San Francisco with a dismal 1-5 record. Old friend Gabe Kapler and the Giants swept them out of San Francisco in their first series in September with three brutal losses. The final full month of the season has been a nightmare for Philadelphia in recent years. They will look to build off of Jean Segura’s walk-off win against Miami to avoid another collapse.
Realmuto’s clutch three-run, tying home run against the Giants ended up going to waste. But his defense in the win over Miami was a huge factor in the win. He threw out two runners trying to steal in critical moments in a close 3-2 win. Realmuto erased a leadoff single in the fifth when the score was 1-1 and got the second out of the ninth inning. He’s been a standout in all parts of the game in the second half of the season and is likely to receive some down ballot MVP votes.
Segura notched his league-leading fifth walk-off hit since the start of 2021 Tuesday night. In the ninth inning this season, Segura is slashing .409/.480/.682 with 4 RBI in 25 plate appearances. Overall, Segura is hitting .306 in 29 games since returning from the injured list on August 4th. He’s been a consistent source of bat-to-ball contact and strong defense up the middle at second base. His throwing arm was on full display in San Francisco when he and Bryson Stott turned a highlight reel double play.
No one needs to conquer September demons more than Aaron Nola. He started that quest off strong with 6.2 innings of one run ball against the Marlins with 10 Ks on Tuesday night. Nola allowed just four hits and two walks as he once again dominated the Marlins lineup. In three starts against Miami this season, Nola has allowed just three runs in 22 IP, good for an ERA of 1.23. He will need to continue pitching like this if he wants to change the narrative in September.
It’s debatable whether starting Sosa over Bryson Stott consistently over lefties is beneficial, but it worked on Tuesday night. Sosa went 2-2 at the plate with a walk against Miami and made a spectacular sliding play to likely keep the game tied and end the top of the fourth inning. His first hit was a home run that put the Phillies on the board in the bottom of the third while the second was a double that eventually scored as the go-ahead run. Sosa’s playing time needs to be managed better, but there’s no doubt he helped the Phillies get a much-needed win.
Suárez yet again failed to make it through the middle innings without losing his command. He lasted just four innings against the Giants and allowed 3 runs on four hits and two walks and needed 69 pitches. This is now the third straight start Suárez has hit a wall after starting off strong. He hasn’t pitched into the fifth inning since his August 23rd start against the Reds. But even then, Suárez lost his command and struggled with four walks including two with the bases loaded. He’s now surpassed his career high in innings with 127.2 with the previous high being 124.1 in 2018 split across AA and AAA. It seems he’s running out of gas and the Phillies may need to consider piggybacking someone with him.
Gibson’s disaster of a start in the first game of the Giants series was yet another of poor starts by the Phillies rotation over the last week and a half. He lasted just 1.2 and was charged with 7 runs on five hits and had four walks. Gibson put the Phillies into a 4-0 hole in the first inning and they never recovered in a 13-1 loss. He needed 65 pitches just to record four outs. It was the second time this season that Gibson recorded less than 9 outs in a start.
Hand’s 2.41 ERA on the season has masked many problems. His expected ERA is 3.47 and expected FIP is 5.07. He has struggled with his command and limiting baserunners all season, and those weaknesses were on full display against the Marlins. Hand entered the game in the eighth inning and immediately hit the first batter twice following a review and then allowed a single. He was removed from the game after a sacrifice bunt from the third batter put two men in scoring position. Hand had thrown just six pitches. His 13.1 BB% is the worst of his career and he’s hit 6 batters in 41 innings of work.
Thomson’s lineup decisions since the return of Bryce Harper have been puzzling. Leaving Harper batting fourth has resulted in fewer plate appearances for the reigning MVP, including once with a one-run game ending with Harper in the on-deck circle in San Francisco. His usage of a quasi-platoon of Sosa and Stott worked on Tuesday but is flawed in its approach. Thomson has also mishandled the admittedly shorthanded bullpen of late. He’s pushed Robertson to around 40 pitches in two innings twice this season and both times it resulted in a walk-off home run for the opposition. His decision to use Alvarado for one batter and then Hand and Brogdon in the eighth almost cost the Phillies the game against the Marlins.