The Philadelphia Phillies are now 17 games over .500 after a 6-0 shutout of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night. Let that sink in for a moment.
One of the shining stars of the night was Kyle Gibson, who pitched seven shutout innings and struck out nine. In his previous start he struck out 11 batters, a career high. He has been on a roll.
Since his July 2 outburst in which he gave up six earned runs in four innings, Gibson has been masterful. He has pitched 54 2/3 innings since then and allowed just 17 runs.
That’s the kind of production a team likes to see from the backend of their rotation defines a contender.
Perhaps the biggest change in this Phillies team from the iterations of the last 10 seasons is that they are winning and occasionally beating bad teams. The Pirates their latest victims.
For the second night in a row, the Phillies scored more than six runs. Catcher JT Realmuto’s point guard clearance on the first triple set the tone for the rest of the night. All starting position players scored a hit except Bryson Stott and Brandon Marsh.
It was an incredible display of offense.
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Perhaps the strangest moment or moments of the night were Bryce Harper’s two intentional walks. Pittsburgh was absolutely terrified of the reigning National League MVP.
One-third of his season total for intentional walks came on Saturday night.
After outscoring the Pirates 13-4 in the first two games, Philadelphia will look to complete the sweep on Sunday afternoon. Noah Syndergaard will take the mound for the Phillies as he continues to improve after joining the club at the 2022 MLB trade deadline.
The Phillies have been toying with Syndergaard’s pitching mix and it appears to be working, as he has allowed just six earned runs in 20 innings since making his Philadelphia debut on Aug. 4 against the Washington Nationals.
Roansy Contreras will start for the Pirates on Sunday, he has a 3.86 ERA and a 3-4 record for the season.
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