So far in the still-young Phillies 2018 season, the Phillies faced one of their biggest tests on Thursday night.  The Phillies, who had lost two games out of the first three to the Los Angeles Dodgers, were set to face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.  The Phillies countered with their own ace, Aaron Nola.  The Phillies came through with one of their biggest wins of the season.

Kershaw was coming off a disabled list stint but was still strong. Kershaw gave the Dodgers five innings and allowed just one earned run before being relieved by Pedro Baez in the sixth inning. He was replaced by reliever Josh Fields who allowed one run to the Phillies in the top of the seventh on a Jorge Alfaro RBI double.

Nola, meanwhile, went seven full innings for the Phillies. Nola allowed just one earned run in the fifth inning, striking out seven to pick up the win.  Nola finished the month of May making six starts and going 4-1 with a 1.90 earned run average.

But perhaps as impressive as Nola was Phillies reliever Seranthony Dominguez.  Dominguez relieved Nola in the eighth inning and was as dominant as he has been since joining the Phillies.  Dominguez did not just pitch the eighth inning but also the ninth inning to earn his second save of the season.

Dominguez did not allow a hit or a walk during his two innings of work.  Dominguez has now pitched 13 2/3 innings in his 11 games and has yet to allow a run.  He has not walked a batter and just allowed two hits while hitting one batter.

While Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is not the type to anoint a closer, Dominguez appears to be the Phillies relief ace, coming into games towards the end of the game to face the opposition's most feared hitters.  That model is what made Andrew Miller so successful with the 2016 American League Champion Cleveland Indians.

The Altanta Braves defeated the Washington Nationals Atlanta this evening to put the Phillies one game out of first place and half a game behind the Nationals in the National League East.

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