November 29, 2022

Miscues lose Phillies Game 2 of NLDS

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) reacts to giving up an RBI-single to Atlanta Braves Austin Riley during the sixth inning in Game 2 of baseball's National League Division Series, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Miscues by the Phillies, especially in the sixth inning, were the game-changer in this one after a 2-hour, 53-minute rain delay.

The NLDS between the Phillies and the Braves is now even at one-a-piece as the Braves took Game 2 by a score of 3-0.

The Phillies gave this one away in the bottom of the sixth.

Zack Wheeler, who retired 17 of the first 18 men he faced, hit Ronald Acuña Jr. with a first-pitch fastball on his right funny-bone with two outs in the frame. A chain of events ensued that caught the Phillies giving up three runs in the inning.

With Acuña Jr. on first, Wheeler allowed his first walk of the game on a 3-2 pitch to Dansby Swanson. Matt Olson then hit a 1-2 slider on the ground to Rhys Hoskins. What should have been a routine, inning-ending ground-out turned into the winning run as Hoskins brutally failed at a backhand play on the ball.

After Hoskins’ mistake, the Braves scored two more runs, one on an infield hit and another on a real base hit by Travis d’Arnaud.

That was it as the Phillies’ offense did a whole lot of nothing for Wheeler.

The Phils had just three hits in the game. Atlanta’s right-hander Kyle Wright kept the Phillies to two hits over six scoreless innings.

The two biggest concerns are at the top of the order, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins. The duo went 0-for-8 with four strikeouts at the top of the order. Hoskins is 1-for-18 with six strikeouts so far in the postseason. Schwarber is 0-for-16 with eight strikeouts. This, of course, is an issue.

The Phils had a chance in the second. Bryce Harper doubled and moved up on a fly-out by Nick Castellanos. Harper was stranded at third when Alec Bohm grounded out and Brandon Marsh struck out.

The Braves also made two incredible defensive plays. In the top of the sixth, J.T. Realmuto floated a fly-ball to shallow left field. Braves shortstop called off the left-and-center-fielder and made one heck of an over-head catch to end the inning.

Flashing forward to the top of the eighth, Bryson Stott hit a fly-ball over towards the tarp on the left side. Austin Riley sprinted from third base and made a beautiful catch as he rolled over the tarp for the second out.

Game 3 comes to Philadelphia on Friday at 4:37 pm ET, as the Phillies will host their first playoff game since 2011. Aaron Nola will start for the Phillies. The Braves have not named a starter. Spencer Strider, who dominated the Phillies this season but has missed time with an oblique strain, is a possibility. So is Charlie Morton, who has had a tough season.

This was a rough one for the Phils. But, they were not going to win every playoff game. Because that is not realistic. Now, they have two chances to win at home, and maybe clinch in Game 4.

This should be interesting.

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