Phillies blow 5-1 lead, comeback falls short in 8-9 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks
The Philadelphia Phillies lost a heartbreaker in game one of seven on the road to the Arizona Diamondbacks last night 8-9.
Still without a fifth starter in the rotation, Rob Thomson turned to his bullpen in game one against the D-Backs, with Matt Strahm getting the start last night.
As bullpen games typically go, it didn’t work out well in the Phillies favor.
The Snakes struck first in the bottom of the first inning with Evan Longoria hitting a sacrifice fly to Kyle Schwarber to score Ketel Marte.
In the top of the second inning, the Phillies evened the score at one courtesy of a solo shot from JT Realmuto.
Entering last night, Realmuto had the day off on Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers after hitting a miserable .210 with just two home runs and eight RBI over his previous 30 games.
In the series preview I wrote, I called for an “awakening” of Realmuto in Arizona after an ice cold start to the 2023 MLB season, and the Best Catcher in Baseball answered the call in historic fashion.
Realmuto became just the 17th catcher in MLB history to hit for the cycle and the first Phillies player to do so since David Bell in 2004. He completed the cycle with a ninth inning double, hitting a home run in the second inning, tripling in the third, and hitting a single in the fifth inning.
The Phillies as a team jumped all over D-Backs starter Tommy Henry, tagging him for nine hits, five earned runs, and a home run over the first 4.2 innings of the ball game.
Realmuto got things started with the home run in the second and followed it up by hitting a triple in the third inning to score Trea Turner and Nick Castellanos to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.
JT Realmuto 2 RBI Triple
Alec Bohm followed Realmuto in the third hitting a double to left center to score Realmuto, and Josh Harrison added another run on a single to score Bohm.
Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes
The Phillies were up 5-1 heading into the bottom of the third inning but the bullpen game came back to bite them thanks to Matt Strahm, Yunior Marte, Dylan Covey, and Andrew Vasquez.
- Matt Strahm: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER
- Yunior Marte: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER
- Dylan Covey: 1.1, 2 H, 2 ER
- Andrew Vasquez: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER
This is exactly why Rob Thomson pulling Taijuan Walker in Sunday’s finale against the Dodgers after just 83 pitches was a huge mistake.
Going for the series win, Thomson pulled Walker after five innings of work and turned the game over to Gregory Soto, Seranthony Dominguez, Jose Alvarado, and Craig Kimbrel.
The Phillies won the game and the series against the Dodgers which is a good thing, obviously, but in doing so they burned all of their top bullpen arms in the process, knowing damn well they were going to have a bullpen game on Monday night against the D-Backs.
I would have much rather had Thomson rely on Walker on Sunday and not burn through the top of our bullpen and maybe we could have avoided blowing a four run lead last night in Arizona.
Phillies Comeback Falls Short
Still, the Phillies managed to fight back into the game last night. Bryce Harper hit an RBI double to centerfield to score Kyle Schwarber.
Alec Bohm struck again on a single to score Harper in the same inning.
The Phillies entered the ninth inning down 7-9 and after Realmuto completed the cycle with a lead off double, Bryson Stott pinch hit and hit a single to right to put the Phillies within one.
JT Realmuto Double – Cycle Complete
With two outs and the count 3-2, Kody Clemens pinch hit and nearly gave the Phillies the lead on a go-ahead two-run home run, but the ball sliced just foul of the right field pole.
Clemens then struck out after an official review and the ball game was over. With the loss, the Phillies fell back to two games under .500, remaining in third place in the National League East standings.
Aaron Nola on the mound tonight.