If only the Phillies could have saved some of their offense from the last two games and used a few of those runs tonight instead.
Let’s recap this thing and go to bed.
The game got off to a rough start in the first inning, when the Cubs scored three runs on four singles (the BABIP gods were clearly out to get Zack Wheeler tonight). Wheeler clearly wasn’t his dominant self, but it also wouldn’t be at all fair to pin this loss on him. Didi Gregorius allowed Kris Bryant to reach on an error, and if he had just made that play then Wheeler would have gotten out of the inning unscathed. Two batters later, the Phillies were inches away from turning a double play that would have ended the inning, but replay review showed that Kris Bryant got his hand in just in time. If Bryant had been just half a second slower, this might have been a completely different ball game.
Midway through the second inning, Wheeler looked like he had turned things around. He was on a roll, having just struck out three of the last four batters, but that's when the umpires decided to call a rain delay. After the 12-minute delay, Anthony Rizzo returned to the plate and hit an RBI triple (the first hard-hit ball off of Wheeler all night) and soon after came in to score on a single by Wilson Contreras. 5-0 Cubs.
The next few innings went by in relatively boring fashion. Then, in the top of the sixth, J.T. Realmuto singled, Bryce Harper doubled him in, and Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run home run. The middle of this order can be really dangerous when they decide to turn it on, and it looked like the Phillies might just come back and win this thing after all.
Cutch crushed!— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 8, 2021
We're back in this ballgame. #RingTheBell pic.twitter.com/Xw611PEMFh
Didi Gregorius came up next and walked on four pitches, and then Alec Bohm hit a sharp ground ball through the third baseman’s legs (it was nice seeing Bohm on the opposite side of that kind of play for once). Unfortunately, Bohm got called out at second base in a double display of poor base running for the young Phillie. His first mistake was trying to reach second base at all. Simply put, it was too close and definitely not worth the risk. His other mistake was his poor slide. He actually managed to reach base safely, just before the throw, but then he slid off the bag and that was when he got tagged out. Bohm really, really needs to learn how to slide properly, because this is not this first time something like this has happened. Anyway, Bohm’s out ended the rally, and the Phillies would only manage one more baserunner all game (Bohm himself, with a single in the bottom of the ninth).
This overslide by Alec Bohm cost the Phillies a chance to add more runs. pic.twitter.com/xhLznyAGyE— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) July 8, 2021
Zack Wheeler came back out for the bottom of the sixth and got the first two outs, but also allowed a single and a walk. Joe Girardi replaced him with Connor Brogdon, which seemed like a fine move at the time considering Wheeler was at 97 pitches and hadn’t looked like himself all night. Unfortunately, Brogdon allowed both inherited runners to score as well as an earned run of his own, and the game quickly got out of hand. 8-3 Cubs.
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd that’s pretty much it. There were, of course, three more innings to be played, but they weren’t too eventful. Brandon Kintzler pitched the final two innings and retired all six batters he faced. That’s promising and all, but would it kill him to pitch like that in a game that actually matters?
Anyway, the Phillies lost and now they’ll have to win three of their next four if they want to go into the All-Star break with a .500 record. Zach Eflin will take the mound on Thursday to try and secure a series win.