December 9, 2023

Even though 2 saves were blown, Phillies beat Cubs in odd walkoff fashion


AP Photo/Matt Solocum

This was an odd one.

This game never even felt comfortable, even with as good as Ranger Suarez was. There was simply a huge sense of inevitability to this that when J.T. Realmuto hit a lead-taking home run in the bottom of the eighth, it just felt that there was going to be issues. Luckily for the Phillies, it was communication issues between the pitcher and catcher on the Chicago Cubs that would be an issue.

Thanks to this, the Phillies walked it off on a pass ball to beat the Cubs 6-5.

Suarez was quite good for the first few innings, only scattering three hits over the first four innings before his offense could wake up.

There was an issue in the third where the Cubs had loaded the bases, but that was due to an error by Didi Gregorius that turned what could have been an inning ending double play into a hot mess. Suarez was able to work around it, but the momentum from that rally killing shutdown didn’t come until the fourth.

In that inning, Harper doubled to start it off, then was followed by a single to Realmuto that put runners on the corners. Gregorius would at the very least ground into a double play that scored Harper, but now there two outs. More runs were needed. Andrew McCutchen got on, then was followed by Freddy Galvis, who hit one out of the ballpark in right field.

It usually helps the team to develop some momentum that can carry them to victory sometimes. The Phillies’ pitchers though? Not believers. Suarez would give up a leadoff double to Matt Duffy, then an opposite field home run to Frank Schwindel that brought the Cubs within one.

In the bottom of the fifth, Suarez would help himself by doubling, but looked like he would get stranded when the next two batters failed to move him over. When the Cubs walked Harper, it left it up to Realmuto. Realmuto blooped one in and brought Suarez home, getting the lead up to two.

It would remain that way until the eighth when Jose Alvarado did his thing.

He hit Ian Happ to start it off, then sent him to second on a wild pitch. With one out, he put one in the strikezone that Robinson Chirinos didn’t miss, crushing it for a game tying home run.

It was so predictable it’s just not even funny anymore, but the best was yet to come.

Realmuto tried to play hero again in the Phillies’ half of the eighth, getting his third hit of the night with an opposite field home run that gave the Phillies the lead.

That meant that it would come down to Ian Kennedy to try and save the game. But, it didn’t last long as he gave up a game-tying home run to Matt Duffy on the first pitch.

It’s probably time that Kennedy stops being the closer, seeing as how he doesn’t really have the stuff to be a closer, but who else is there?

That’s another story for another day.

At least the game would be tied giving the Phillies another chance to win it before moving into extra innings. Andrew Knapp started the ninth with a single, then went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Mickey Moniak. Odubel Herrera grounded out to the pitcher that ended up being beneficial as it would send Knapp to third. With Jean Segura at the plate, he being pretty clutch all year, everything was set for him to walk it off. Then, the ball got away from catcher Robinson Chirinos, and Knapp scored to win the game.

What a weird ending to a game.

The Atlanta Braves did lose to the Colorado Rockies, so the Phils (73-72) are 3.5 game back in the NL East. They’re also three games back in the Wild Card.

Thursday night will be a bullpen game for the Phillies.

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