NEW YORK — Just hours before game time on Tuesday, Brandon Marsh is taking stock of the energy around the Phillies club. They were 0-4 to start the season, but he wasn’t too worried.
“I don’t see any frowns,” said the quarterback. He looked up at left-hander Matt Straham, who was sitting across from the room, preparing for his start against the Yankees that night.
“We got the pastrami today,” said Marsh. “I’m ready to watch him compete. And play better defense behind him. He’s the man. I’d go to war with that guy any day.”
Their purchase did not disappoint. In his first start since August 17, 2021 — when he threw just one run as an opener for the Padres — the left-hander gave the Phillies four shutout runs on a one-hit ball en route to a 4-1 win over the Yankees.
In the fourth inning, he pinch-hit Aaron Judge, then yelled toward the Yankees dugouts.
It wasn’t because Shtrahm had knocked out the reigning AL MVP. It was because he misplaced his slider.
“Did you feel satisfied? “I was cursing myself after that,” Strahm said. “I didn’t feel good about someone hanging up and getting away with it. But luck is better than good sometimes.”
Strahm admits he’s a perfectionist, which is why his last extended stint as a starter, in 2019 with San Diego, was so frustrating for him. Strahm had an arsenal of five pitches at his disposal, but found himself overindulgent. He was trying to save some pitches for use on strikes later, and realized that he wasn’t throwing pitches the same way he was throwing in the bullpen.
“I wasn’t expecting a conviction,” said Stram, who joined the Phillies as a free agent in December signing a two-year, $15 million contract. “Personally, I think the right pitch is the most convincing. It might not be the right pitch for that hitter, but in that moment I feel powerful. I’m going to fight fire with fire every single day.”
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Strahm finished the 2019 season with a 5.29 ERA in 16 starts. This spring, the Phillies gave him the chance to try it out again. When starter Ranger Suárez was diagnosed with a left elbow injury in mid-March, they turned to Strahm to fill in for Suárez. Stramm was excited, and rightly so.
As a reliever who had only three weeks to hastily build up his workload, he was probably the last person the Phillies expected to give them four scoreless innings of the ball. But on Tuesday night, in front of a rowdy 35,392 fans at Yankee Stadium, he showed he had learned something from his disappointing 2019 season. He wasn’t hesitant. He wasn’t stopping himself. Instead, he made a condemning save.
“I refuse to call myself a reliever, or a novice,” said Strahm, who took a maximum of 65 in the field and finished with 61, including 42 runs. “I’m just an archer. So, whatever they need, whenever they need it, I’ll do it.”
Bats heat up…
The Phillies put together 10 hits on Tuesday night. Four of the nine hitters have multiple games: Jake Cave, Bryson Stott, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber. Marsh hit his first home run of the season in the third inning, a 436-foot shot to center field.
Turner and Schwarber each had two RBI singles in the fifth inning.
…and the bull locks him up
The Phillies staff in their entirety allowed four hits and one run against the Yankees formidable lineup. The bullpen—Andrew Bellatti, José Alvarado, Connor Brogdon, and Craig Kimbrel—allowed only three hits, one walk, and one run.
Things got a little exciting on the ninth. Kimbrel caused an exit from Anthony Volpi, followed by DJ LeMahieu’s lead riff. From there, he allowed a walk, a jumper, and a single to put runners on first and second with two outs. But with the run tied at the plate, Josh Donaldson retired a groundout to end the game.
“Kimberle is bent, but not broken,” manager Rob Thompson said of the game. “The job Alvarado, Pilati and Brogdon did was phenomenal. You can’t walk with people, and we didn’t do that tonight. You could walk a little bit here and there, but at the rate we were going.” [in the first four games]It wouldn’t be good for us.”
Schwarber HR No. 200
Schwarber set the tone early on. In the first inning, he hit a 415-foot touchdown run to right center field to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. It was his first home run of the season, and the 200th of his career.
“It feels good,” he said, “but I think the most important thing is to start with a lead.” “I think personal achievements, those things will come after you’ve finished playing. It’s a great statistic. But happy to win.”
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