Bryce Harper and the Phillies' offense kept on humming in an 8-4 win over the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.
The win was the warming Phillies' fourth in a row, matching a season high. All have come on this homestand and have coincided with the dismissal of John Mallee as hitting coach. Former skipper Charlie Manuel has stepped in as hitting coach. He has been in the dugout for three games, all wins, and the Phils have combined for 35 hits, including seven homers, and 26 runs in those contests.
Friday night's win left the Phillies at 64-58. They entered the day a game out of a wild-card playoff spot. There are 40 games remaining (see standings).
Harper does it again
Harper is carrying the Phillies. Twenty-four hours after his game-winning grand slam against the Cubs, he smacked a three-run homer to give the Phils a five-run lead in the sixth inning. He also had a shift-beating single and scored two runs. Harper has four homers in his last three games and seven homers and 17 RBIs in his last nine games.
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For the season, he is up to 26 homers and 90 RBIs.
Realmuto does it again
It's always good to have more than one hot bat in the lineup and J.T. Realmuto is doing the job along with Harper. Actually, he's been doing it for a while. He had a homer, a double and a single and is hitting .313 (51 for 163) with 16 doubles, eight homers and 29 RBIs over his last 44 games.
Another injury for Quinn?
Roman Quinn has been improving over the last few weeks. He hit a big home run in the third inning. However, the oft-injured outfielder left the game in the ninth after appearing to hurt something in his leg. More on that later.
Vinny Velo's night
Phillies starter Vince Velasquez gave his club five strong innings out of the gate then, in rather typical fashion, struggled the third time through the Padres' batting order. He gave up three runs in the sixth, got just one out in that frame and left leading, 5-3.
Velasquez used his fastball up in the zone and executed some breaking balls down in the zone in retiring 11 straight at one point. He showed some composure in getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. He threw 25 pitches in that inning, but managed some economy after that.
Velasquez will be an important guy for the pitching-challenged Phillies down the stretch. He's made strides in the second half of the season and needs to continue his progress if the Phils are to make a run.
Good bullpen work
The Phillies' bullpen picked up 3 2/3 innings and allowed just one run.
Vinny Velo, indeed
Velasquez threw 108 pitches and 74 of them were four-seam fastballs. The pitch averaged 93.9 mph, topped out at 95.7 and produced 11 swinging strikes.
Team officials want Velasquez to use his four-seamer the way he did in this one, often and up in the zone where hitters can't catch up to it.
End of a good streak
Velasquez had registered 22 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings against the Padres in his career before giving up three runs in the sixth.
Hoskins gets a recovery day
Rhys Hoskins was an important base runner in the Phillies' game-winning five-run rally in the ninth on Thursday night. On Friday night, he paid the price. He became that base runner Thursday when he was hit on the right hand by a pitch from Cubs' reliever Pedro Strop. The hand was a little tender Friday so he was held out of the starting lineup, but was available for pinch-hitting duty or "to bang off the bench," as manager Gabe Kapler said.
Hoskins was able to participate in pregame workouts and said he would be ready to start on Saturday night.
Another injury for Quinn?
Roman Quinn has been improving over the last few weeks. He hit a big home run in the third inning. However, the oft-injured outfielder left the game in the ninth inning after feeling tightness in his right groin while running out a ground ball. Quinn missed nearly two months with a strain of the same groin earlier this season.
"I just felt a little something running across the bag, same spot as the last time, but not as bad," Quinn said after the game. "Just a little stretch."
"Not really," he said.
"We'll see how I feel in the morning and go from there. If I come in not feeling better, maybe we'll get an MRI."
The Phillies are 67-35 against the Padres since the start of the 2004 season, including 32-18 at Citizens Bank Park.
Jared Hughes, picked up off waivers from Cincinnati on Thursday, is expected to join the club on Saturday. The Phillies will have to make a roster move.
Zach Eflin (7-11, 4.49) returns to the rotation on Saturday night. He will pitch against San Diego's Dinelson Lamet (1-2, 3.86).
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