The late Commissioner of Baseball A. Bartlett Giamatti said that baseball breaks your heart and nothing in the game is more heartbreaking than the sudden end of the season when a team loses in the playoffs. The Philadelphia Phillies are experiencing that heartbreak after falling 4-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a winner-take-all National League Championship Series game seven at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night. The Phillies have a historic collapse in game 7 of the NLCS.
Frustration Sets In
The Phillies were frustrated that they lost the series after having won the first two games at home. They go on to drop four of five games, including the final two at their home ballpark. This after they had won a Major League record 11 National League playoff games in a row before getting beat in game six of this NLCS.
Frustrated that they scored 15 runs in the first two games combined and managed just three runs in the final two games.
In game seven, they were frustrated that the little things that go your way when you win went against them. Such as a groundball that would’ve been an inning-ending double play, except Christian Walker broke his bat and hit the ball weakly to third. The best the Phils could do was force the runner at second, and a run scored.
Phillies superstar Bryce Harper expressed regret that he just missed two pitches that could’ve changed the complexion of the game if he had hit them just a little bit better. One was in the fifth inning when Kyle Schwarber had a leadoff double. Harper hit a drive that Lourdes Gurrial Jr caught against the left field wall. Arizona was leading 3-2 at the time. In the seventh, Harper got the pitch he wanted. All he did with it was fly to center to end what had been a two-on, one-out threat.
The Diamondbacks were able to play their brand of baseball in the clincher. Corbin Carroll got an infield hit in the first, went to third on a hit-and-run single by Gabriel Moreno, and was the runner that scored on Walker’s weak groundball to Alec Bohm.
In the fifth, Emmanuel Rivera singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Carroll’s two-out single to center. Then Carroll put himself in scoring position with a steal of second and came around on Moreno’s hit to right. Carroll drove in the final D’Backs run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Bohm Shows Up for Game 7
The Phillies’ runs were both scored by Bohm. In the second, he drove an elevated fastball to the seats in left for the Phillies’ 24th home run of the postseason (20 of them were solo shots). Two innings later, he walked and scored on a double to the gap in left-center by Bryson Stott. It gave the Phils a 2-1 lead at the time. Unfortunately they couldn’t hold it and ultimately got their hearts broken.
“I wish I could’ve done more,” said Harper. “I wish I could’ve gone out there and had that big hit. At the same time, we’ll be back.
“From the bottom of my heart,” he continued, “I want to thank the fans for giving us there all this postseason and this whole season as well. They showed up for us and I know they’re going to continue to do that. I know they’re hurting as much as we are because when we lose, they lose and when we win, they win as well.”
Season Ending Frustration
“I don’t feel stunned,” said Castellanos, who had one hit in the series. “I feel frustrated because we underachieved as a team. We have to give credit to the Diamondbacks because they played great but it’s a frustrating way for the season to end.”
“The potential of this team is so much greater than going home before the World Series,” said Castellanos. “Last year, when we lost game six [to Houston], I think, obviously, we were disappointed because we didn’t win the whole thing but there was a lot of, ‘we got here, now we can build off that.’ Knowing how we feel about this team, and we came up short from what we did the year previous, it’s a disgusting feeling, honestly.”
“Anytime you lose,” said Schwarber, “it doesn’t feel right. It felt just as sickening last year as it does this year. It will never feel right, it never does, it never will. You got to use this as motivation going into the offseason and make sure you come back in next year ready to go.”
Realmuto’s Last Words of the Season
“They used different pitches,” said J.T. Realmuto when asked if the Diamondbacks pitchers changed up what they did during the series, “moved the ball around. They were able to get us to chase outside the strike zone quite a bit. They got ahead of us and got us chasing, when you do that as a pitching staff, you’re usually going to have success.”
“I think they got the right guys on,” said Realmuto about the Diamondbacks’ ability to play small as the series went on. “The first few games, we kept their speedsters off the bags for the most part and we did a good job changing up times. These last couple of games, they were more aggressive, they picked the right pitches to run on. That’s a big part of their game so not being able to keep them from doing that was part of the reason we lost.”
Rock Hoffman has been covering sports in the Philadelphia region for over 30 years. He’s been the co-host of a radio show – SportsPage – on the Delaware Valley Radio Network (WRDV.org) in the time. He’s reported on games involving all the Philadelphia teams at the profession and collegiate levels. During his career he’s provided coverage for a Super Bowl, an All-Star Game, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games as well NFL, MLB and NHL playoff games. Additionally, he’s the College Football Editor for Football Stories Magazine (FootballStories.com).