The Phillies finished their 2021 season Sunday afternoon in Miami against the Marlins. Fittingly, it was a bullpen game in which they lost.
Game 162 seemed emblematic of the Phillies season from the first play of the game. Odubel Herrera dove for second base 20 feet from the bag trying to stretch a single. Andrew McCutchen and Didi Gregorius then failed to capitalize on a bases loaded one out situation created by a Bryce Harper double.
The Marlins did what the Phillies couldn’t in the first, scoring two runs before Bailey Falter recorded an out. Pitcher Steven Okert padded the Marlins lead when he hit into a double play with runners on first and third, giving Miami their third run of the game
That Marlins lead didn’t last long though, home runs by Freddy Galvis and McCutchen tied the score at three.
That homer may have been McCutchen’s last appearance in a Phillies uniform as he was lifted for Matt Vierling in the third. Meanwhile, Travis Jankowski replaced Harper, who put the finishing touches on an MVP caliber season with a double and a walk in two plate appearances.
Harper finished the season with slash line of .309/.428/.615 in 599 plate appearances.
Harper joined an exclusive club Sunday. A third inning walk was his 100th on the season, making Harper only the fourth outfielder in MLB to post 35 home runs, 40 doubles, 100 runs, and 100 walks in a single season. He joins Babe Ruth (1921 & 1923), Stan Musial (1949), and Barry Bonds (1998).
Miami took the lead back in the fourth with a two-run bomb by Nick Fortes off Hector Neris, but he wasn’t done just yet. Neris, a nearing free agent, came back out for the fifth inning and struck out Jazz Chisholm for the 520th strikeout of his career, the most by any Phillies reliever franchise history.
The sixth inning saw the return of Seranthony Dominguez, his first appearance since June 5, 2019. The Dominican righty quieted a lively Miami offense, picking up a strikeout in a 1-2-3 inning. Like Bailey Falter and Vierling, Dominguez is an uncertainty, but should he return to 2018 form, he could be a difference maker for the Phillies in 2022.
Though Dominguez was able to curb the Marlins offense briefly, the Phillies comeback attempts were futile.
Speaking of Falter he made his first major league start Sunday afternoon, and it was not great. Two Marlins scored before an out was recorded in the first. Falter got a double play with runners on the corners to escape a jam in the second inning, but he won’t be happy with a 9.00 ERA in his first start.
The Phillies could use consistency from their big lefty in 2022, whether it be from the bullpen or as a starter.
The final loss of the season dropped their record to 82-80, a one game improvement over 2019, the Phillies’ last full season. It’s the first winning season since 2011. The Phillies missed the postseason for a 10th consecutive season.
This offseason should be very interesting.