A usually unusual 2 run top of 1, a shaky bottom of 1, then pitching dominance and a non hibernation added up to a win that clinched a sixth straight NL east title. So, it was a good night. That it happened in Philadelphia on the Phaillures home field added a little juice to it.
In inning one, Ronald Acuna, Jr. lined out, Ozzie Albies doubled, and Austin Riley homered. 2 to 0 to start the game. This is an endearing feature of this team. Then, it looked like Strider might have another stinker. Kyle Schwarber walks. Out. Bryce Harper walks. Out. Bryson Stott singles to score Schwarber and send Harper to second. But after that, the usually good to great version of Spencer Strider reappeared. He would end up with 7 IP, 110 pitches, 77 for strikes, 4 H, 2 BB, 9 K, and 1 R (1ER). He had 2 extra days between starts because of a stomach virus, so maybe the high pitch count isn’t so bad. Also, the bullpen needed a break. Hand and Yates got the 8th and 9th in a style fitting of a Strider start.
The remaining offense consisted of two singles (Acuna and Albies) followed by a sacrifice fly (Riley) in the 3rd. Then, in the 4th, a Marcel Ozuna double followed by a Kevin Pillar double, got the last run of the night for anybody.
Next target: clinch first round bye. Then, clinch NL best record. Then clinch overall best record.
A great appreciation obviously goes out to the Branch Rickey of the 21st century, Alex Anthopoulos. Further, despite his regular season tactical curiosities which didn’t appear in the 2021 post season, an appreciation for Brian Snitker. And for each of them, their ability in recognizing and hiring a great team of coaches. Last night even thanked the analytics team (and said something about them being chained to their computers).
A day off. Then, the Marlins in Miami. Everybody please stay off of boats.