It was a battle of the blues in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. The Philadelphia Phillies, donning their classic baby blue tops with baby blue pants, welcomed the Brewers, wearing their navy blue road jerseys paired with grey pants, to Philly for the final time in the 2023 regular season.
The Brewer’s offense has had a case of the blues in 2023. Going into Thursday’s contest, they had the lowest team OPS in the National League. Despite the offense largely being a dark cloud hanging over the team, blue skies are starting to peak through the darkness. Christian Yelich and William Contreras have carried the offense, with newcomers such as Andruw Monasterio finding some form to give the Brewers just what they need to win.
With the offense struggling, the pitching continues to dazzle. This road trip has seen dominance from the starters to the bullpen, and the last game of the trip was no different. Corbin Burnes showed why he has been among the best pitchers in the major leagues in the last two years. Another double-digit strikeout performance was enough to secure the 4-0 win.
As has been the case his last few outings, Burnes was unhittable early. He sat down the first nine Phillies that he faced. A walk from Kyle Schwarber and a hit from Nick Castellanos in the bottom of the fourth would be the closest the Phillies would get to creating any threat. His cutter has always been a staple pitch, but recently he has used his curveball to great effect. Today, he threw 20 strikes on 26 curveballs. He forced nine swings and misses on his curveball today, more than the rest of his pitches combined.
On offense, Christian Yelich knocked his third home run of the road trip in the top of the third. This time, it was a three-run home run to give the Brewers the lead. Yelich was on cycle watch early in this one. Leading off the game with a single, getting said home run in the third and then beating out a double in the fifth (He would finish a triple shy, going 3-for-4). Yelich continues to play closer to his MVP level. He is batting .315 in July, contributing to his .287 average overall. Fourteen home runs also put him second behind Willy Adames for the team lead.
With the lead, Burnes continued his stellar start. He recorded 10 strikeouts for the second straight start. He also made it back-to-back starts with zero earned runs. Per Mike Vassallo, In his last four starts, Burnes has a 1.33 ERA, giving up eight hits and four runs in 27 innings pitched. He also has an incredible 36 strikeouts, all contributing to quality starts. After Contreras added on a run with an RBI single in the 7th, the Brewers went to the bullpen trying to hold onto the four-run advantage.
With the top-end bullpen arms getting the day off, Abner Uribe got the ball in the ninth. The young reliever has shown he has the stuff to be a major contributor to the bullpen down the stretch. He brings heat that the Brewers often don’t see from their pitchers, such as a 102.2 mph pitch on Tuesday. Today, he struck out the heart of the Phillies order. The perfect ninth secured the win and the series victory. The Brewers return home after a road trip that saw them go 5-1, extending their lead in the NL Central to 2.5 games.
Milwaukee returns to action tomorrow when they kick off a three-game series at home with the NL-best Atlanta Braves.