Since the calendar flipped to June, the Philadelphia Phillies have refused to lose.
The Phillies will look for their ninth consecutive victory when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday.
On Friday, Philadelphia defeated Arizona 7-5 thanks in large part to two home runs from Rhys Hoskins and a three-run shot from Kyle Schwarber. Bryce Harper, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, also had three hits to raise his average to .317.
The Phillies have won eight straight overall and all seven games since interim manager Rob Thomson replaced Joe Girardi.
Hoskins, speaking in a postgame interview on NBC Sports Philadelphia, said of being relaxed, “Winning breeds that. I think we’re getting more confident as a bunch. We’re learning each other.”
Hoskins especially appears to be more comfortable since Thomson took over for Girardi.
“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Thomson said of Hoskins. “He’s hit some big home runs for us. It kind of pushed the momentum back to our side.”
The eight-game streak has given the Phillies some much-needed momentum and has moved them back to .500. After a tough start, that’s saying something.
The Phillies haven’t reached the postseason since 2011.
“We’ve been playing really good baseball,” Thomson said. “Now we’ve just got to keep moving forward.”
The Phillies will hand the ball to Zack Wheeler (4-3, 3.14 ERA) on Saturday. Wheeler, who was reinstated from the paternity list on Friday, holds a 4-2 record and a 3.29 ERA in eight career starts against the Diamondbacks.
After winning two straight to salvage a split in a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds, the Diamondbacks will now aim to even the Philadelphia series.
Daulton Varsho led the Arizona offense with a home run, a double, a single and three RBIs on Friday. Josh Rojas contributed a two-run double, but the inconsistent Diamondbacks committed two errors and weren’t able to overcome an early 6-1 deficit.
With such a young team, these types of losses are to be expected.
“It’s a giant step from Triple-A to the big leagues when it comes to facing the pitching,” Rojas said. “I think everybody is kind of aware of what they hit well and what they don’t hit well, but it’s when you get here and they start to not only expose your holes but use your (strengths) against you with other pitches.”
Madison Bumgarner (2-5, 3.64 ERA) is scheduled to start on Saturday for the Diamondbacks. The left-hander is 6-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 13 career starts against the Phillies.
In his latest start, Monday against the Reds, Bumgarner needed a season-high 108 pitches to get through five innings. He allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks.
“I didn’t feel like I did well giving up only the two runs,” Bumgarner said after that outing. “In this particular case, I felt like I was giving up runs I shouldn’t have given up.”
Arizona catcher Carson Kelly (left oblique strain) could return to the lineup either Saturday or Sunday, according to manager Torey Lovullo. Kelly, who last played in the majors on May 4, caught nine innings in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Reno on Thursday.
–Field Level Media