Despite their late-inning outburst, the Phillies will require more from the offense

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryson Stott (5) celebrates with third base coach Dusty Wathan (62) after hitting a home run against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

For the first time in 11 years, the Phillies are victors of a postseason game. The story of the game was without question the late-inning surge by Philadelphia’s offense, in which the team drove in six runs in the final inning.

After a dormant start to the game, and down to their final three outs, the Phils’ offense erupted against the Cardinals bullpen. En route to scoring six runs, the team batted around and compiled runs in any way they could.

“It’s what we do. We fight,” Alec Bohm said in the locker room after the game. “We are never out of it.”

The ninth-inning rally included singles, walks, and even a hit by pitch as the Phillies scraped their way to victory.

“We have a deep lineup,” Bohm said. “No matter where we are in the lineup, we feel like we have a chance to piece something together.”

Still, as thrilling as the victory was, it is difficult to shake the thought of the dry spell their offense endured to start the game. Through the first seven innings of the game, the Phillies only had two hits and didn’t record a single run.

Cardinals southpaw starter Jose Quintana was a large reason why, as the lefty mystified the Phillies lineup before being pulled just 78 pitches into his outing. Still, Quintana isn’t exactly Sandy Koufax and it is within reason to think the Phillies’ offense should have had more success against him.

Phillies need more

Perhaps postseason jitters are to blame, but the Phillies simply cannot afford for their offense to go silent for long stretches like that again. Although the pitching shined to begin this Wild Card series, there is no question that the offense is the strength of this team.

Philly finished the regular season in the top ten in hits, home runs, and runs batted in. Under the bright postseason lights, the Phillies will need their offense to continue to mash.

With so much invested into the offense, and with reigning MVP Bryce Harper at the helm, there are few pitchers that can mute the Phillies’ offense for more than a couple of innings, and hopefully, Quintana’s start is one of the aforementioned anomalies.

Additionally, right after the unusually slow start by the Phillies’ lineup, the team displayed its massive potential at the plate by scoring six runs in one inning. Even more impressively, they did so without the assistance of any extra-base hits.

During their six-run, ninth-inning outburst, the hardest-hit ball put in play by the Phillies clocked in at a modest 88 miles per hour.

With fearsome sluggers Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, J.T Realmuto, and Nick Castellanos lurking in the lineup, I would expect more explosive games from the offense down the line. Hopefully, the Phillies are able to once again string hits together in Game 2 of this Wild Card series in Saint Louis.

In Game 2, Miles Mikolas will take the mound against the Phillies. This season, Mikolas recorded a 3.29 ERA across 202 innings pitched, so the Phillies would be wise to get to him early before he gets settled in. The key will be hitting him the second time in the lineup as well, as his batting average against shoots up to .265 to .170 when facing the opposing lineup the second time.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip