The Philadelphia Phillies are human. After an imposing start to the 2023 postseason, they’ve finally fallen to the Arizona Diamondbacks in less-than-exciting fashion. Well, it was a walk-off, but woof.
With the night decided, let’s look at some game notes and what’s next for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Through the first five-plus innings of this game, there wasn’t much offense to speak of. Each team had two hits, and Ranger Suárez and Brandon Pfaadt dealt with a combined 16 strikeouts. That was not expected.
Neither would ultimately be the pitcher of record, but it cannot be understated that these two young men just handed in the most exciting (oxymoron) head-to-head matchup of the 2023 postseason.
So, as we all started to fall asleep, the Phillies scored their first run of the game on the back of a wild pitch, Andrew Saalfrank, but we were just getting started. Well, the Diamondbacks were, anyway.
Three straight hits against the youngster Orion Kerkering netted the D-Backs a run to tie things up. Only José Alvarado could come in for three quick outs, including a double play that held the runner at third.
How it started: when a Trea Turner single became a Harper double play, we were reminded that the Phillies aren’t invincible. A couple more strikeouts from Arizona starter Pfaadt in the top of the second inning made us nervous.
Now it’s a pattern – the Phillies offense was held in check by the rookie, Pfaadt. As we exalted his exit in the sixth inning, the Phillies found themselves in the same position – listless in Arizona.
When the Phillies found themselves scoreless and headed into the seventh, we were scratching our heads.
How it’s going: a Harper walk followed by a Bohm infield single finally got things going. I know, so typical. A Stott double play deflated things until a wild pitch finally had Harper speeding his way home. The Phillies are finally on the board. 1-0.
How it went: the Phillies were due for a quiet game offensively. The pitching is excellent, but we’ve come to expect a certain level of dingers from this crew.
There just wasn’t any Bedlam tonight.
Ranger Suárez Cooks in the Desert
A weak batted ball off the bat of Christian Walker dribbled its way back to Suárez as the unproductive at-bats continued, including a bloop single that fell between Bryson Stott and Johan Rojas. No matter, Evan Longoria aims at Harper. Inning over.
Not to be outdone by Schwarber’s home run flirt, Emmanuel Rivera clobbered a ball… right to Marsh. A Ketel Marte double was inconsequential, and Corbin Carroll bailed out Suárez with an infield out. Something that happened twice tonight.
With 5 1/3 innings of three-hit, seven-strikeout baseball, Suárez put together the most impressive playoff start of his career. He also made some outstanding defensive plays that kept the score locked at zeros until his departure.
How it’s going: nobody could have predicted that the Phillies number three starter and an unknown rookie would engage in the pitcher’s duel of the 2023 postseason, but that’s what we got.
Only a couple of doubles from Marte would mar Suárez’s night, but ultimately, we saw an extremely positive outing from the young lefty.
How it went: Alvarado put the cherry on top of Suárez’s fantastic night. Getting two innings from the power lefty made the difference.
Ultimately, it was Craig Kimbrel who held the balance of the game in his hands. He just couldn’t overcome bases loaded with Marte at the plate.
Phillies Duel Above Sea Level
There’s not much of a break for the Phightins – they’re back for Game 4 on TBS at 8:07 EST tomorrow night. The Phillies haven’t announced their starter, but Taijuan Walker, the now-Gold Glover, makes too much sense.
The Diamondbacks haven’t seen him in 2+ years, and the hitters in their career have combined for a .150 batting average against the righty. The Phillies lead the series 2-1.
(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)