Behind another stellar effort from a pitcher who, less than a month ago was diagnosed with a hernia, the Philadelphia Phillies are officially a winning baseball team 25 games into the season. Their 2-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks capped off a 10-game western road trip that saw Philadelphia collect six victories before returning to Citizen’s Bank Park. The latest came on the heels of another staggering effort from starter A.J. Burnett who is pitching as well as the organization could have hoped for all while dealing with the discomfort of a hernia.
A.J. Burnett has a 0.83 ERA in 3 starts since being diagnosed with a hernia. The Phillies have won all three games.
— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) April 27, 2014
After a wild win the night before which required some late-game heroics, the Phillies were in need of a strong start from whomever took the mound for Sunday’s rubber match against Arizona. Fortunately, Burnett continued to rise to the occasion and put the majority of the afternoon on his shoulders. Given the quality of Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy’s outing, Burnett’s most recent showing was just what the team needed as they wrapped up their first major road trip of the season.
The Phillies jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. Ben Revere started things off with a single to centerfield. Revere would manage to steal second base during Jimmy Rollins at-bat to give the Phillies an early scoring threat. Chase Utley would come through a few batters later, dropping an RBI single into left-center to score Revere from 2nd and put Philadelphia on top 1-0.
From there, the matinée affair turned into a pitcher’s duel with McCarthy and Burnett one-upping each other at every opportunity. The two starters would combine for 20 strikeouts (12 for McCarthy and 8 for Burnett) as each team’s offense was rendered relatively ineffective as they tried to work through their issues at the plate. Burnett especially was able to keep the Arizona threats to a minimum, and showed great resolve whenever he had to work out of a jam.
The Phillies would tack on a second run in the top of the 6th inning. After Utley led off the frame with a double, Marlon Byrd would dribble a groundball to the hole between 2nd and 3rd base. Arizona shortstop Chris Owings would make a tremendous play on the ball to prevent it from going into left field. However, instead of trying to make the play at first, Owings tried to make a play on Utley at third base. Owings’ throw would end up reaching the 3rd baseman just as Utley did, and the ball would end up missing the target and going into foul territory allowing Utley to trot home to give Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.
Burnett would cruise over his last three innings as Arizona made very little threat on the Phillies 2-0 lead. He would finish his outing with the following line: 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. Jonathan Papelbon would work around a base hit in the 9th and record the save as the Phillies wrapped up a 2-0 win to secure a winning record as they return home for a series with the Mets. With seven straight at home after eight on the road, Philadelphia has an opportunity to start building up wins in the early portion of the season. By no means are we watching the team from 2010 or 2011 that could rattle off stretches winning 10 of 12, but the Phillies are playing solid baseball and it’s tough to ask for too much more than that. Let’s just see how long it lasts.