Oct 25, 2023, 12:13 pm ET in MLB
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Phillies’ Game 3 Loss: Bats Go Silent, Manager Shares Blame

The Silent Bats

The Philadelphia Phillies MLB postseason starts to torn. “The Red Pinstripes” found themselves in a tight spot during Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Many are quick to point fingers at the Phillies’ bats for their 1-0 loss, and they might just be onto something. The much-anticipated Phillies offense managed a mere three hits and failed to bring in any runs. The sole point they scored came from a wild pitch.

Pulling the Pitcher

However, as the blame game gets underway, it’s clear that Phillies manager Rob Thomson has a share of the responsibility for the team’s misfortunes. Trouble began when Thomson pulled their starting pitcher, Ranger Suarez, in the sixth inning. Suarez had only thrown 69 pitches and had impressively struck out seven batters while keeping the Diamondbacks at bay.

Thomson’s decision might have seemed okay at first. After all, he had yanked Suarez after just 53 pitches in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, and it had paid off with a 3-0 victory for the Phillies. It looked like they might escape trouble again when reliever Jeff Hoffman swiftly wrapped up the sixth inning.

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Rookie Mistake

But then came a puzzling choice. In the seventh inning, with the Phillies holding onto a fragile 1-0 lead, Thomson decided to put rookie Orion Kerkering on the mound. Kerkering had only made his major league debut less than a month ago and had played in just three regular MLB season games. In the playoffs, he had only pitched when the Phillies had a comfortable lead.

In Game 1 of the NLDS, Kerkering had pitched a flawless seventh inning, helping the Phillies maintain a 2-0 lead. Perhaps that’s what Thomson had in mind for him on Thursday. However, this time it didn’t go as planned, as Kerkering gave up three hits without recording an out, including a game-tying double by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

The Ninth-Inning Nightmare

The repercussions of these choices carried over to the ninth inning when closer Craig Kimbrel struggled, loading the bases and ultimately conceding a walk-off single to Ketel Marte, securing Arizona’s win in Game 3.

Thomson, the Phillies’ skipper, defended his decision to bring in Kerkering, saying, “He’s pitched pretty well for us…That moment’s not too big for him.” In fairness to the rookie, he’s shown promise in his limited appearances, but this time, it proved too much for him to handle. As a result, the Diamondbacks now have the upper hand in the MLB scores.

With Game 4 looming, both teams will rely on their bullpens. The Phillies will have left-hander Cristopher Sanchez on the mound, facing southpaw Joe Mantiply. Perhaps Thomson will think twice about the leash he gives his pitchers, especially if Sanchez gets off to a strong start.

 

In this pivotal juncture of the Phillies MLB postseason, decisions and performances will play a significant role in determining their fate.

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