One night after the Phillies’ bullpen blew a save in the ninth inning, they used Nick Pivetta to convert a two-inning save. And while the ninth wasn’t the cleanest of innings, Pivetta ultimately got the job done in a 3-2 Phillies victory.
The Phillies’ offense had plenty of chances to make a close game into a not-so-close game, but for the second straight night, they were unable to do much against a very uninspiring White Sox pitching staff, and didn’t take full advantage of a bases loaded situation. The Phillies went in order through the first three innings, but in the fourth, after the White Sox took a one-run lead, their two supposedly biggest power threats finally displayed some power.
Two runs isn’t a lot to work with, but fortunately, Aaron Nola was in ace mode on Saturday. He struck out ten batters in seven innings, allowing only a single run. He might have been able to go another inning, but in the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies loaded the bases with no outs, and the pitcher’s spot due up.
Gabe Kapler used J.T. Realmuto to pinch hit, but his fly ball wasn’t deep enough to score a run. The next batter was Cesar Hernandez, who hustled to first base, avoiding a double play, and allowing a run to score.
With Nola out of the game, it would be up to Pivetta to finish it off. The eighth inning went smoothly, but with a depleted bullpen, he would be called upon to pitch the ninth as well. That inning didn’t go nearly as smoothly. The first two runners reached base, and a two-out RBI by Yolmer Sanchez brought the Sox within in. Finally, Pivetta was able to blow a fastball by Adam Engel to preserve the win.
Once Hector Neris’ suspension is up, there’s a good chance that he’ll regain the closer’s role, and be called upon in the ninth. But Saturday night’s game showed that if Neris falters or is unavailable, the Phillies may have another viable option.