December 3, 2023

Phillies blow another save before game suspended due to rain


AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

The Phillies were three outs from victory, three outs from improving to a game over .500, three outs from handing the ball to their ace on Sunday and looking to go two games over .500 for the first time since May 18.

Then the team’s need for a lockdown closer doomed again.

Then the rain came. A lot of it.

And so Saturday night’s game between the Phillies and Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park was suspended in the top of the 10th inning with no outs and the score tied at 2-2.

The game will be resumed Sunday at 1:00pm ET. The Marlins will have a runner on second base and Jon Berti at the plate with a 1-1 count. Jose Alvarado will be the Phillies’ pitcher.

Sunday’s regularly scheduled game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game. Only fans holding tickets for Sunday’s regularly scheduled game will be admitted to the ballpark, the Phillies said.

Zack Wheeler will start Sunday’s regularly scheduled game for the Phillies. Or he may be pitching to give the Phils a series win. He may be pitching to give the Phillies a split of the four-game series. All that will be determined by the resumption.

Wheeler definitely would have been pitching for a series win had Ranger Suarez been able to protect a 2-0 lead in the top of the ninth inning Saturday night.

Suarez, who had saved two games earlier in the week, came in to protect a 2-0 lead in the top of the ninth. He allowed a leadoff single to Starling Marte — the ground-ball hit went right up the middle as the Phillies were in a partial shift — and a game-tying, two-run homer to Jesus Aguilar on a 0-1 changeup.

The blown save was the Phillies’ major-league-leading 23rd of the season and it further showed this team’s need for a dependable closer.

Suarez is the third pitcher to work as the closer’s role for the Phillies this season.

Suarez was the only Phillies pitcher to struggle. Vince Velasquez pitched five shutout innings and Hector Neris and Archie Bradley combined for three shutout innings to get a 2-0 lead to Suarez.

The lead could have been bigger had the Phillies’ bats done anything with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-9. The Phillies’ two runs came in the first inning and both were unearned. Andrew McCutchen had a sacrifice fly and Rhys Hoskins smacked a double in the right-center field gap to score Bryce Harper from first base.

Velasquez continued his domination of the Marlins. The right-hander has pitched 18 scoreless innings over three starts against the Marlins this season.

Against everyone else this season, he has allowed 43 earned runs in 59 1/3 innings for an ERA of 6.52.

The Phillies head into the resumption with a 45-45 record.

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