The Philadelphia Phillies were one of 19 MLB teams that did not select anyone in…
For the second straight night the Philadelphia Phillies let a game slip away to the Arizona Diamondbacks, losing Game 4 by a final score of 6-5, with the NLCS now tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 tonight.
The Phillies knew damn well they were going to need to rely on their bullpen in Game 4 last night. Christopher Sanchez was on the mound, making his first postseason appearance. Sanchez was fine, surviving 2.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) while walking and striking out one.
It would have been even better if the bottom of the second inning didn’t turn into a complete mess.
Phillies Bad 2nd Inning
- E-5 on Bohm
- Sanchez No Attempt at DP
- Realmuto Passed Ball
- Rivera RBI Single
The D-Backs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second and extended their lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the third on a Gabriel Moreno RBI single. Finally, Kyle Schwarber got the Phillies offense back on track in the top of the fourth inning, hitting a line drive home run to right center field.
Kyle Schwarber Solo Home Run
Schwarber’s home run was a big one and the 19th of his postseason career, which surpassed Mr. October, Reggie Jackson for the most hit by a left-handed batter in MLB History. It was also a temporary shift in momentum for the Phillies, who desperately needed to get something going offensively.
In the very next inning, Brandon Marsh roped a double to center field that scored JT Realmuto and just like that a resemblance of “The Fightins” finally made an appearance in Arizona.
Brandon Marsh RBI Double
BARK BARK— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 21, 2023
(that means TIE GAME) pic.twitter.com/RfS9zZ8Qjf
Alec Bohm “Single” Scores 2 Runs
Alec Bohm then singled on a ground ball to third base in the top of the sixth inning that scored both Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber to give the Phillies a 4-2 lead over the D-Backs.
We'll take it!! pic.twitter.com/h9UKMebSmt— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 21, 2023
In the top of the seventh, Trea Turner put another Phillies run on the board with a sac fly to left centerfield that scored Johan Rojas, who tripled earlier in the inning.
It was a massive hit for Rojas, who has been absolutely brutal to watch at the plate over the last few games. His triple also put Topper’s decision to pinch-hit Jake Cave for Rojas in the ninth after arguably the biggest hit of his career in the previous at-bat but we’ll table that one for now.
Johan Rojas Triple
Johan Rojas 🔥 pic.twitter.com/TclWKgGgU7— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthew_CFB) October 21, 2023
Craig Kimbrel’s Very Bad 8th Inning
Back to the bullpen disaster last night…
After Hoffman, Strahm, and Dominguez handled business by picking up 12 outs to send this game into the bottom of the seventh, Gregory Soto put the first two runners on base, coughing up a single and a walk before Topper decided to hand the ball over to Orion Kerkering.
Kerkering walked two straight D-Backs hitters to force in a run and cut the Phillies’ to just two runs.
Enter Craig Kimbrel.
Kimbrel took his second straight loss last night after allowing a walk-off single in the ninth inning the night before in Game 3. It was the first blown save of his postseason career (previously 10-for-10), allowing three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. The dagger was a pinch-hit, two-run home run to Alek Thomas that tied the game 5-5.
Jose Alvarado, who pitched two innings in Game 3, then relieved Kimbrel with both Ketel Marte and Corbin Carroll already on base. Jose coughed up an RBI single to Gabriel Moreno, which gave the D-Backs a 6-5 lead and ultimately a Game 4 win to even the series 2-2 heading into Game 5 tonight.
Needless to say, this is a pretty brutal time to lose Kimbrel. And when I say lose, I mean he won’t be pitching again this year unless it’s in a low-pressure situation. You don’t lose two straight games and still keep your job. That would be crazy.
Who’s Available in the Phillies Bullpen Tonight?
On top of Kimbrel, Rob Thomson has now burned Kerkering, Alvarado, and Hoffman as well in two straight games and it’s pretty unlikely he’ll go back to any of them tonight.
So, who’s left?
Well, there’s Taijuan Walker and Michael Lorenzen, both right-handed pitchers in the bullpen that I personally have zero faith in actually performing well.
Then you most likely will have Ranger as a left-handed option in relief tonight behind Zack Wheeler, which as we all know, Suarez has a history of pitching well out of the pen in the postseason.
Phillies 3 Postseason Losses
- NLDS Game 2: 8th Inning Blown Lead
- NLCS Game 3: 9th Inning Walk Off
- NLCS Game 4: 8th Inning Blown Save
Phillies at the Plate
Kyle Schwarber went 2-for-3 last night with a home run, two walks and two runs scored. Alec Bohm also bounced back going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Trea Turner, JT Realmuto, Brandon Marsh, and Johan Rojas also notched hits on the night.
Nick Castellanos is in one of his weird phases where he can’t seem to hit anything. Hopefully, this stint won’t last long and he’ll be able to bust out of it a lot quicker this time around. Just has to swing through it. Not much else to say about it.
No postseason series is won without a team winning a game on the road.
Just like I said after Game 3, I absolutely hate losing very winnable games, even more so when both losses were at the hands of the bullpen and more specifically, Craig Kimbrel.
The Phillies were set up perfectly to enter tonight’s Game 5 with Zack Wheeler on the mound up 3-1 but instead, the D-Backs now evened the series at 2-2 and the NLCS will return to Citizens Bank Park for at least one more game.
Even with the last two nights ending in horrific fashion for the Philadelphia Phillies. Some part of me finds it extremely unlikely that the D-Backs can win at Citizens Bank Park.
Zack Wheeler on the mound tonight, Aaron Nola on the bump back home at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night for Game 6.