Final score: Braves 7, Phillies 2
Well, even if Tuesday night didn’t remove all hope in the hearts of Philadelphia Phillies fans, Wednesday may have done the job.
Much like the first game of their crucial three-game set in Atlanta, the Phillies’ offense was quiet in Game 2, mustering just five hits and two runs en route to another loss at Truist Park that all but officially seals their postseason hopes: The Phillies’ tragic number is down to one.
The Phillies dug themselves into an early 2-0 hole when Aaron Nola allowed singles to three of the Braves’ four hitters of the ballgame, as well as an ensuing RBI groundout.
They traded runs across the next two frames, but Nola settled in after that, retiring the last eight hitters he faced to keep the Phillies behind by just two. Granted, given the offense’s struggles dating back to Sunday, as well as Max Fried’s effectiveness, the deficit felt like more than that — but Nola had kept them afloat.
The Phillies made things even more interesting in the sixth when an Odúbel Herrera double and Jean Segura groundout made it 3-2.
But the game slipped away in the seventh — in a number of ways. With José Alvarado on the mound, an error by Herrera on an Ozzie Albies single put runners on second and third with one out. They probably would’ve scored on Austin Riley’s double against Héctor Neris anyway. In case not, Neris and Sam Coonrod removed all doubt, as back-to-back walks by the former and a Dansby Swanson broken-bat two-run single off the latter put things out of reach at 7-2.
“This inning, just like the season, is kind of unravelling for the Phils,” Tom McCarthy said after Swanson’s two-run knock. He’s right — though “kind of unravelling” is an understatement with regard to the Phillies’ season. It’s now on life support, with the Phillies needing to win out and the Braves to lose out just to force a tiebreaking Game 163.
It’s no secret that the Phillies probably needed a sweep in Atlanta. Now, the Phillies need a win on Thursday just to stave off elimination for one more day, or they’ll watch the Braves celebrate another NL East championship while the Phillies reckon with a 10th consecutive season that ends before the playoffs.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Max Fried: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO, 98 pitches
The six strikeouts certainly don’t jump out, but Fried had the Phillies off balance all evening. Excellent command, particularly of his fastball, helped hold the Phillies to just four hits, and one of them — a two-out RBI infield single by Ronald Torreyes — left the bat at 60.2 mph. His ERA dropped to 3.04.
Aaron Nola: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 90 pitches
Nola didn’t have his best stuff (even relative to his season) on Wednesday, but it could certainly have been much worse for the righty. He allowed seven base knocks and walked two, but it only translated into three runs. He worked out of some trouble in the second and fourth, settling in to retire his last eight. His ERA closed what was likely his last start of the season at 4.63.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
These games wouldn’t have mattered if it weren’t for Bryce Harper, but the MVP candidate has gone cold at the wrong time. He’s 0-for-7 with five strikeouts in the series.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Thursday, September 30 vs. Atlanta Braves at Truist Park
- 7:20 p.m. ET
- TV: MLB Network, NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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