After adventurous win, is it time to make Seranthony Dominguez the closer? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
WASHINGTON — It’s a new hero almost every day for these rockin’ and rollin’ Phillies.
This should have been Yairo Munoz’ day.
The 27-year-old utility man was called up from Triple A on Tuesday. His first hit for the Phillies was a home run Thursday night. But that came late in a 10-1 rout of the Washington Nationals.
On Saturday, Munoz hit a much more impactful homer, a solo shot with one out in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie with the Nationals. With the way Aaron Nola was pitching, it seemed like Munoz’ homer might be all the offense the Phillies needed.
Turns out, the Phillies needed just a little bit more offense than that. Brad Hand couldn’t hold a one-run lead in the ninth, but the Phils were still able to pull off the win, 2-1, in 10 innings thanks to a go-ahead hit by Rhys Hoskins and door-slam save from Seranthony Dominguez.
The win improved the Phillies (36-31) to a season-best five games over .500, incredible considering they closed out the month of May eight games under .500. The Phils are 15-2 in June and 14-2 under Rob Thomson, who took over for Joe Girardi on June 3, when the club was 22-29.
“It’s a pretty good run we’re on, that’s for sure,” Thomson said after the game. “We’ve just got to keep it going. Stay consistent. We’ve got a good club. We knew that coming out of spring training. We just got off to a little bit of a slow start.”
When Thomson took over, he told the team to make a goal of getting to .500. Once that happened, he told the lads, focus on getting five games over .500.
“We’re looking at 10,” he said with a smile.
The Phillies have beaten the Nationals four times in three days, twice in 10 innings. They will look for their first sweep of a five-game series since 2001 (against the Marlins at the Vet) on Sunday afternoon. The Phils have not swept a five-game series on the road since 1980 against the Mets at Shea Stadium.
Almost everything that Thomson has touched this month has turned to gold. His decision to go to Hand after Nola delivered eight shutout innings didn’t pan out.
Thomson went to a closer-by-committee approach earlier in the week after Corey Knebel could not hold the job. The manager went with the lefty Hand to open the bottom of the ninth because lefty-hitting Juan Soto was leading off the frame.
“That whole pocket was his,” Thomson said of Hand.
Hand walked Soto, who moved up on a ground ball. He then retired Josh Bell for the second out. The Nats then sent up right-handed hitting Lane Thomas and he stroked a game-tying hit to right on a 2-2 slider.
The hit cost Nola a win and Munoz’ full-fledged hero status.
“I was hoping it was going to hold up,” Thomson said of Munoz’ homer and the 1-0 lead it provided the Phillies.
The right-hander Dominguez was up in the bullpen as Thomas came to the plate.
Any thoughts of bringing him in there?
“We thought Hand was throwing the ball pretty good,” Thomson said. “He just hung a breaking ball.
“After (Friday’s doubleheader), we’re trying to conserve the bullpen as much as we can going into (Sunday). I thought he was doing fine. He walked Soto but he got (Nelson) Cruz to roll over and then he got a fly ball. I actually thought he was throwing the ball pretty good …
“We got through it.”
Yes, the Phillies did, thanks to Hoskins’ RBI hit in the 10th and the inability to score again after having the bases loaded with no outs not coming back to bite them.
Dominguez was outstanding in protecting the lead in the 10th. Three fly balls to left on 10 pitches. He hit 99 mph four times. One of them was actually 99.7 mph so round it up to 100 mph if you want.
Thomson was asked if it was time to make Dominguez the closer.
“We’ll see,” he said. “We haven’t talked about it. We’re still in that mode of the (matchup) pockets. It was good to see Knebel and (Jeurys) Familia do what they did (Friday night). So if they keep coming, we have more guys to think about in high leverage situations.”
The Phillies, without Bryce Harper and with Hoskins getting a breather until the 10th, had just one hit over six innings against Washington starter Josiah Gray. Nola, who has allowed just two runs in 23 innings over his last three starts, would have benefited from more run support as he held the Nats to four hits and struck out eight.
“That’s baseball,” he said. “We won the game. That’s what’s important.
“That nine-game winning streak (to open June) was huge. It got us in a winning mode. That started everything off.”