|10:05 AM PT11:05 AM MT12:05 PM CT1:05 PM ET13:05 ET17:05 GMT1:05 10:05 AM MST12:05 PM EST12:35 PM VEN21:05 UAE11:05 AM CT, September 26, 2021
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Attendance: 29,336
Bryce Harper, Phillies aim for four-game sweep of Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies
- The Pirates won two of the three games they played against the Phillies in Pittsburgh this year (July 30-August 1). The only home run by either team in that series was hit by Pirates catcher Michael Perez in a game the Phillies won, 15-4.
- The Pirates have the second-worst record in the National League this year (57-94, .377) but they are 15-15 since August 20. Pittsburgh has won four and split one of its last five series.
- Ke'Bryan Hayes was 3-for-5 against the Reds on Tuesday. It was only Hayes' third game in two MLB seasons with more than two hits. He had a five-hit game in 2020 and three-hit game earlier this month (September 6 vs. Detroit).
- The Phillies have not allowed more than three runs in any of their last six games. It's their longest such streak since allowing three runs or fewer in eight consecutive games in 2018 (July 30-August 7).
- The Phillies beat the Cubs, 17-8, last Thursday, but they have scored only 18 runs in six games since then (four wins and two losses). Four of those six games have been decided by one run (three wins for Philadelphia) and the other two were decided by two runs.
- Aaron Nola beat the Mets in his last start, ending a personal nine-start winless streak which matched his career high. Nola also went winless in nine consecutive starts spanning the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
- Astros-BoSox shifts to Fenway tied at 1
- Nationals hire Coles as hitting coach
- Braves again win on walkoff to go up 2-0
- Use of Scherzer, Urías backfires for LA
- Altuve, Correa both get top billing
The Philadelphia Phillies have taken full advantage of a favorable schedule late in the season.
And it might just be enough to propel them to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
The Phillies (81-74) took two of three from the Baltimore Orioles and now they have a chance to sweep a four-game series against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
Following their 3-0 win over the Pirates on Saturday, the Phillies sat 1 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.
Bryce Harper and Matt Vierling each homered to provide more than enough offense. Harper's solo blast was his 34th of the season.
"Bryce is one of the hottest hitters on the planet," J.T. Realmuto said.
Ronald Torreyes had another hit on Saturday and stayed hot against the Pirates. Torreyes hit an RBI single and a three-run homer the past two games.
"You look at his career numbers with runners in scoring position, I mean, there's not going to be a lot of home runs, you understand that," Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. "But he's hit his whole career. It just tells you why I love him so much. He's always prepared. He's ready to hit, go to third, short, second, wherever I put him."
The Phillies are scheduled to throw another bullpen game on Sunday. It's unclear who will be starting, but the entire bullpen will be ready. Adonis Medina is a strong possibility, but Girardi wouldn't confirm the move.
"I'm working every day because I want the playoffs," reliever Hector Neris said. "I've waited for that my whole career."
The Pirates (57-97) are careening toward a 100-loss season, but they continue to compete.
Saturday was the first time in the three games that they didn't build a lead.
All they can do now is to keep playing hard and do everything possible to come up with a victory.
"They need to play in games like this," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. "They need to feel the atmosphere like it was here. It's not like we're playing bad baseball. We're getting beat by a pitch or two."
The Pirates managed only four hits on Saturday, but they played hard until the final out.
"The most vital thing to take away from this series -- and even going a little further into this season -- is the mindset of competing," said Wilmer Difo, who homered and drove in two runs on Friday.
"It's important for these young guys to understand that no matter the results, you've got to go out there with the mindset and the heart willing to compete."
"I don't want to lose," Pirates shortstop Hoy Park added. "We don't want to lose. We try to score every inning. This is baseball. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. We're gonna keep fighting."
The Pirates will send Max Kranick (1-3, 7.28 ERA) to the mound to try and salvage a win. Kranick had been pitching well at Triple-A, but hasn't found the same consistency with the Pirates.
Kranick has yet to face the Phillies in his career.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 26, 2021