February 3, 2023

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Phils get rolling after Quinn's 99.9 mph assist

3 min read
Hoskins, Realmuto RBI hits, Wheeler's 10 K's also help sink Braves in series opener
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ATLANTA — Roman Quinn won a game Sunday because he is one of the fastest players in baseball.

He helped the Phillies win on Monday night because he has one of the strongest arms in baseball.

The Phillies beat the Braves, 7-3, at Truist Park. It is their second consecutive win, which is something considering the way the weekend was headed against Los Angeles, and the fact the Braves pummeled the Phils in Atlanta the previous four seasons.

Philadelphia is now 10-22 (.313) at Truist Park since the beginning of 2018. The Phillies were swept in a four-game series at the end of ‘18, eliminating them from the postseason. They were swept in a three-game series at the end of ‘21, eliminating them from the postseason.

“We’re just trying to keep the momentum going from yesterday’s game,” Quinn said. “Keep riding this out these next three games, and then take it to the Mets when we get there.”

The Braves were primed to take the lead in the first inning when Marcell Ozuna singled to right-center field with a runner on second and one out. William Contreras was three steps from third base by the time Quinn fielded the ball. He was two steps past third by the time Quinn released the ball to throw home.

“That was an awesome throw,” Phillies ace Zack Wheeler said. “That was big for us.”

Quinn, who scored the winning run from second base on an infield error in Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Dodgers in 10 innings, has one of the strongest arms of any outfielder in baseball. He has seven throws tracked at 97 mph or better in his career, according to Statcast. He entered the season with his strongest throw at 98.3 mph.

“I think I’m getting a little stronger,” Quinn joked.

It is the fastest-tracked outfield assist by a Phillies player since Statcast started measuring throws in 2015. It is the second-fastest outfield assist this season — Cincinnati’s Aristides Aquino had one at 101.6 mph.

“I got a pretty good jump on it,” Quinn said. “I fielded the ball cleanly. I looked up and saw that he was running. I had my momentum going toward home plate. I just let it eat.”

It sent the Phillies into the top of the second with a scoreless tie, instead of a one-run deficit. Kyle Schwarber walked, J.T. Realmuto singled and Quinn walked to load the bases with one out. Rhys Hoskins doubled to right-center field to clear the bases to make it 3-0.

Realmuto tripled to score a run in the third. Quinn doubled to right-center to score two more runs to make it 6-0.

Those were big hits from three players who needed a break. Hoskins was beyond frustrated following a rough Sunday against Los Angeles. He took it out on a garbage can in the dugout. Realmuto has been struggling so much that on Saturday, he hit eighth for the first time since 2016. Quinn entered the afternoon batting just .172.

“Sometimes it reminds me of some of my old teammates,” manager Joe Girardi said. “They talked about how they’d sit up in bed at night and scream, and then lay down and go back to bed. Hitting is a nightmare. It really is. It’s a battle. It’s a fight. Sometimes you’re going good, sometimes you’re not. You don’t understand why because you feel the same. 

“You’ve just got to keep grinding. That’s all you can do.”

Wheeler allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out 10.

Wheeler’s four-seam fastball velocity averaged 96.3 mph, up 0.5 mph from his season average. He got 20 swings and misses. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA (five earned runs in 32 2/3 innings) in his last five starts, and he has struck out 40 and walked six in that stretch.

“Those games are fun,” Wheeler said. “When you get a little cushion early, you can kind of just go out there and maybe throw some pitches that you’re trying out, and that’s kind of what I was doing today.”

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