The Phillies have kept us on the edge of our seats the past three days, making things a lot more interesting than they should have. Sunday afternoon was one of the sweatiest contests in recent memory, as the Phils walked off the Dodgers on a Max Muncy error. Monday night was a bit better, as they beat the Braves 7-3 in the series opener. However, that “they might blow it here” feeling started to creep back after the Phillies jumped out to an early seven-run lead in the first four innings. The Braves scored a run each in the fifth, seventh and ninth, and Corey Knebel was called upon in a non-save situation in the ninth. Still, a win is a win, and the Phils did win. Unfortunately, their luck didn’t hold out on Tuesday night, as the Phillies lost once again in epic fashion.
They played from behind for most of the game, only managing three runs through the first eight innings. A Bryce Harper two-run blast in the top of the ninth looked to be exactly what the doctor ordered, but things fell apart in the bottom of the frame. Nick Nelson surrendered a leadoff double to Dansby Swanson to begin his second inning of work. The wheels came off when Ronald Acuña Jr. skied a fly ball to right-center field. It was an easily playable ball, but Roman Quinn and Nick Castellanos couldn’t get on the same page, and the ball clanked off of Quinn’s glove as Castellanos tried to peel off. Acuña would go on to score on a William Contreras single and give Atlanta the walk-off win.
On one hand, the Phillies were given a gift by the Dodgers on Sunday, so this seems to just be some sort of cosmic justice playing out. On the other hand, the team grabbed a lead late and needed only to slam the door, and couldn’t do it once again. This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2022. Most infamously they let the Mets come back and win from a 7-1 deficit in the ninth inning. On the bright side, this loss isn’t QUITE as pathetic as that, but does that really make it any better? The Phillies bullpen once again failed to close out a game that they had in hand, and that I’m getting much too familiar with writing that sentence.