The Phillies led by seven runs at one point Monday night. It certainly didn’t feel like it by the end of the game, with tense inning after inning for a bullpen that kept bouncing back from game six onwards.
Rob Thomson took on Craig Kimbrel in the eighth inning, the Phillies led by two and San Diego’s impressive top player was at stake. At that point, it was the really safe situation. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto walked away with an out to earn second and third place respectively. Kimbrel beat Manny Machado (0-13 alive) and provided a 3-1 grounder at the end of the inning by Bogaerts. The baseball gods helped the Phillies a little when the ball hit the third base umpire on the double steal. If not, it might have seeped all the way to the wall and tied the game.
Jose Alvarado’s ninth was just as stressful, but he also missed two runners to end the 9-7 win by sweepingly knocking out Ha-Seong Kim after falling down the count.
The Phillies breathed a sigh of relief two hours after the game appeared to be decided. With 25 games remaining, they are 76-61 and lead the Cubs by 2½ points to the highest wildcard spot in the National League. The other four teams in the mix — the Diamondbacks, Reds, Giants and Marlins — are all at least 5½ games behind the Phils.
From one to nine, it was an early offensive run by the Phillies. They chased 43-year-old left-hander Rich Hill for four outs and hit base against him nine times with seven hits, including two doubles and two home runs. By the fourth inning, every Phillie had reached base and six different players had scored.
Alec Bohm cleared bases with a double up top in the first round. Edmundo Sosa and Trea Turner scored in the second half and added three more. Cristian Pache and Sosa had extra base hits to add two more runs in the third.
Turner destroys everything he sees. He has the longest hitting streak in the majors in 15 games and has hit seven home runs in the last seven. He’s up to .262 this season and has an OPS of .761, which is now right in line with Nick Castellanos, Bohm, Bryson Stott and JT Realmuto. After all, Turner is likely to post results above the league average in the first four months.
Schwarber hit his 40th home run and walked three more times. He has completed 109 walks this season, 23 more than his previous career high. The baseline percentage of .342 is the third-best of his career in an entire season, despite a batting average of .193.
Stott had a comeback after scoring three straight without the base for the first time in 2023. He went 4 for 5 and is back at .294.
Taijuan Walker started and was once again not sharp. He was credited with the win, which put him to 15-5 with a 4.15 ERA, but gave up four runs in five innings on 103 pitches. He has made four straight starts without completing six innings. He’s run 13 batters in his last 20⅔ innings, too many for a pitcher with that much contact. The Phillies are hoping he can turn things around and provide a straight answer as to who will start in Game 3 of a playoff series. That remains a question with four possible answers: Walker, Ranger Suarez, Michael Lorenzen and Cristopher Sanchez.
Gregory Soto, who is five appearances from his career high, gave up two runs in a shaky seventh inning. The Phillies’ bullpen has been showing cracks lately, but it’s also been able to play games like Sunday and Monday. Alvarado wasn’t nearly as accurate on points as he was before two bouts of elbow soreness, though he recovered from Friday night’s defeat in Milwaukee with scoreless innings in back-to-back games.
There’s reason to wonder if every innings will catch up with those relievers in September, but the Phillies’ bullpen remains one of baseball’s stingier units. Jeff Hoffman was great at hitting the final two outs of the seventh set and cleaning up Soto’s mess. What would the Phillies’ 2023 record be without Hoffman, who has a 2.49 ERA in 43 appearances in various lever roles?
Lorenzen is on the hill Tuesday night at 9:40am ET looking to get two good starts in a row. The Padres are backing right-hander Pedro Avila, a rather tall man who typically throws four innings per appearance.
https://www.nbcsportsphiladelphia.com/mlb/philadelphia-phillies/phillies-news/phillies-bullpen-padres-craig-kimbrel-jose-alvarado/534572/ Craig Kimbrel and Jose Alvarado hold on to thrilling win – NBC Sports Philadelphia