Phillies Nation

2022 Postgame Recaps

Phillies drop another game to Braves behind shaky Suárez, bullpen


Ranger Suarez struggled Wednesday. (Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire)

Final Score: Braves 8, Phillies 4

For the second straight day, the Philadelphia Phillies put some pressure on the Atlanta Braves. For the second straight day, the Braves had an answer almost every time, and because of it, the Phillies lost. 

The Phillies’ offense actually didn’t have itself a terrible game — scoring a not-great-but-workable four runs on a solid 11 hits — but pitching and defense again reared their ugly heads. Ranger Suárez was shaky early, a defensive miscue that would be unfathomable for 29 teams gave the Braves their second lead and the bullpen had trouble keeping it close.

After taking the series opener and looking primed to grab the second game as well, the Phillies have instead dropped two straight. They’re 20-24, back in third place in the NL East with tonight’s loss, and will look to leave Atlanta with a split tomorrow behind Aaron Nola.

“Shutdown inning”? Never Heard Of Her 

Odúbel Herrera’s 431-foot blast gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the top of the second …

… and the Braves answered right back with four in the bottom of the second. William Contreras got the party started with a solo homer, and an Adam Duvall walk, Orlando Arcia double, Ozzie Albies two-run single and Dansby Swanson RBI knock quickly made it 4-1.

Then, in the top of the fifth, the Phillies put together a two-run rally to tie it, aided by a Bryce Harper double and completed by a Jean Segura RBI knock. 

The tie was short-lived. 

Things tend to be wild with José Alvarado on the mound, and they were on Wednesday — but this time, Alvarado wasn’t the only source. With Swanson on first, Alvarado spiked a curveball, and Swanson took off. Realmuto didn’t have much of a play at second, and he threw down anyway, but an airmail wasn’t the issue.

Just take a look for yourself, because not many words exist to describe this particular play, if we can indeed call it that: 

Um, so, yeah. 

That made it 5-4. Austin Riley deposited a baseball into the left field seats three pitches later. The Phillies had taken the two runs they’d scored just a few minutes earlier and promptly delivered them right back.

Nice of them. 

It’s the second straight day this has been an issue. On Tuesday, the Phillies scored one and gave up two in the second, scored one (to tie) and gave up two in the sixth, then scored two (to take the lead) and gave up two in the ninth.

Some of it can be chalked up to questionable-at-best bullpen management, like James Norwood for the sixth and Nick Nelson for the ninth on Tuesday, or Alvarado in the fifth on Wednesday. Either way, it’s not a very sustainable model for winning, especially if momentum is real.

Bryson Stott Looks A Step Behind

An RBI single from Herrera had put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth-inning, the Phillies trailing 4-2. Stott stepped in against Charlie Morton with a chance to narrow that deficit further. Let’s take a little deep dive into what happened. 

Pitch one was a sweeping curveball that had plenty of movement but certainly wasn’t unhittable: It stayed in the strike zone, sweeping toward Stott instead of away from him, and the lefty had seen Morton’s curveball three times in his previous at bat. But Stott took it. 0-1. 

Pitch two was a four-seamer on the outer half, and Stott — instead of shortening up and putting it in play to likely score the speedy J.T. Realmuto from third — took a long, off-balance swing and ended up fouling it off. 0-2. 

Stott eventually hit a weak foul pop to Austin Riley for an unproductive out. He’d battled back to make it 3-2, but the first two pitches of the at bat were the best ones he saw. A better approach from Stott — either by swinging at pitch one or shortening up on pitch two — might’ve suited him well with a man on third and one down, especially for a hitter who entered the day with a .131 batting average. 

Two of his other three at bats were strikeouts, one on six pitches and one on three. His 0-for-4 night dropped him to .125 on the season. He’s gone hitless in 14 of 19 starts. He just looks a bit overmatched at the plate right now.

You Can’t Be Too Mad At Bryce Harper, But …

Harper went 4-for-5 on Wednesday after a three-hit game on Tuesday. He doubled twice, including one to fuel the fifth-inning rally. As Phillies Nation‘s Tim Kelly noted, he was hitting .391 in May — before his second double.

I digress. Despite being one of baseball’s best hitters, suffice it to say he isn’t one of its best baserunners — or at least, he isn’t one of its most careful. 

As he is wont to do, Harper tried to extend a first-inning single into a double, and Marcell Ozuna threw him out by about a mile and a half. Had Harper stayed put, the Phillies would’ve had runners on the corners and one out, but instead, the baserunning miscue led to a scoreless inning. 

Harper has extended singles into doubles before, and the hustle is great. But sometimes, he gets carried away. He did on Wednesday. Who knows whether the Phillies would’ve even scored in the inning, and given the aforementioned trends, maybe they would’ve just given the run(s) right back. Either way, it’s an aspect of Harper’s game — perhaps the only aspect, given he can’t play in the field — that the slugger might want to polish. 

But, still. Hard to be too upset.

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance

Ranger Suárez: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR, 88 pitches

Suárez didn’t have his best command on Wednesday, the third time in nine starts this season he’s walked at least three batters. He mixed speeds OK, it just didn’t really fool anyone — in the four-run second inning, the Braves got hits off of Suárez’s sinker, curveball, four-seam fastball and changeup. Three of those hits came with two strikes. Some of the put-away ability he showed in the third — striking out two batters after a pair of one-out walks — would’ve been useful in the second, but alas. His ERA stands at 4.74.

Charlie Morton: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR, 90 pitches

For all of his career success, Morton hasn’t been all that effective against the Phillies, entering Wednesday with a 4.53 lifetime ERA against them, his sixth-worst against any opponent. First-pitch strikes (or a lack thereof) are partially why that number jumped even more on Wednesday. Morton threw first-pitch strikes to just 12 of 23 batters faced. Yes, that number was five of six in the two-run fourth inning, but the unfavorable counts are why he entered that frame with 62 laborious pitches already under his belt. ERA: 5.28.

Phillies Nugget Of The Game

(For reference, he did this just once last season — and won MVP or something.)

Ticket IQ Next Game

  • Thursday, May 26 vs. Atlanta Braves at Truist Park
  • 7:20 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • Radio: Sportsradio 94 WIP, WTTM1680

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Berksbaseball

    May 26, 2022 at 8:23 am

    Perhaps JT should be in the bullpen, 3 swings and misses on the same pitch. Must of had some serious movement on it.

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