The Phillies are making opposing pitchers and managers pay for everything right now.
Leading the Phils by two runs with nobody out in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night, the Angels opted to intentionally walk Bryce Harper with a man on second. Harper has refused to make an out lately with an OPS over 1.200 in August and began the game with a 115.7 mph home run and a double, so even though it put the tying run on base, it wasn’t exactly a questionable call.
Alec Bohm ruined Phil Nevin’s plan two pitches later with a go-ahead three-run home run to left-center.
“Just told him it was a big at-bat, big situation,” Harper said. “Just a really good moment for him.”
The Phillies’ rally didn’t stop there in the 12-7 win. J.T. Realmuto followed with a double and scored on a safety squeeze by Johan Rojas. Two batters later, Trea Turner hit a simple chopper down the third-base line to Mike Moustakas’ left that went all the way down the line for a two-run triple.
They added three more in the seventh when Bohm doubled, Realmuto singled him in and scored on Bryson Stott’s two-run homer. Turner made it an even dozen runs with a solo shot in the eighth.
“It’s funny, I was driving in today and listening to WIP like I do a lot during the 2 o’clock hour,” Harper said. “A guy named Chuck called in, he calls in a lot and is hilarious. He was talking about our team, talking about me. I walked into the training room and was like, ‘I’m gonna go deep for Chuck.’ That guy had me fired up, man.”
Shoutout to Chuck.
The Phillies are receiving production from every section of the lineup and won their fifth straight to improve to a season-best 16 games over .500 at 74-58. They’re on a 91-win pace, they began the night four games ahead of the second wild card and they play 20 of their final 30 games against teams .500 or worse.
Harper has been his MVP self in August, hitting .366/.455/.774 with nine doubles, a triple, nine homers, 22 RBI and 22 runs scored in 25 games.
Kyle Schwarber also homered for the 11th time in the last calendar month, a span over which he has 34 walks and 36 strikeouts.
Turner has hit .364 with 17 extra-base hits in his last 22 games.
Bohm is up to 15 home runs and 82 RBI on the season. He’s on pace for 18 and 101.
“Anytime you can have a month like that, it’s huge. Being able to keep it going and sustaining it is even more important,” Harper said. “We’ve had a great month. We’ve got a lot of baseball to play and we’re going to see a lot of good teams moving forward.”
Michael Lorenzen did not pitch well for a third straight start, allowing four runs (three earned) over six innings. He gave up a leadoff hit in all six innings — two homers, two doubles and two singles. The Phillies have scored 91 runs in their last 12 games, an average of 7.6 a night, which can mask a lot.
“It feels nice to be able to give up four and then smile after the game because we won,” Lorenzen said. “That’s what this offense brings. It takes the pressure off the starting pitcher quite a bit. I’m going to go to sleep tonight feeling good about myself rather than kicking myself, tossing and turning all night, and that’s because of the offense.”
They look to keep it rolling Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. when Cristopher Sanchez (2-3, 3.33) opposes lefty Reid Detmers (3-10, 5.03).