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Cut in half: Braves 7, Phillies 2

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We’re almost done here

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves
Aaron Nola wasn’t the Phillies’ biggest problem on Wednesday
Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images

This recap contains spoilers for Wednesday’s episode of Marvel’s What If...? series. If you’re upset because you haven’t seen the episode yet, and now you can’t read the recap of this game, then I’m going to say it’s your own damn fault. You could have turned off the Phillies and watched What If...? instead. You probably would have enjoyed the episode more than this game.

Don’t worry: I’ll put the spoiler at the end so you can read about the game without worry of learning crucial plot details. If you would rather skip to the end so you can avoid thinking any more about the unpleasantness that was Wednesday’s game, I don’t blame you.

After Tuesday night’s loss to the Braves, the Phillies’ chances at winning the National League East were slim. If you expected them to come out hot on Wednesday night to prove that they wouldn’t go down without a fight, then you are far more optimistic than the majority of Phillies fans. You were also very wrong.

Aaron Nola put the team in an early 2-0 hole in the first inning thanks to some of his signature two-strike hits. But Nola was ultimately one of the lesser problems on Wednesday night. After that shaky start, he settled down to pitch six innings, allowing just one additional run. It certainly wasn’t an “ace” performance, but he did keep the team in the game.

That decent showing was better than we got from the Phillies’ offense or bullpen. For the second straight night, the Phillies batters did little at the plate. They’ve scored three runs over the first two games of the series, and two of them were unearned. Pretty much nobody is hitting well, and that includes Bryce Harper. The unfortunate truth is that this offense can’t afford an off night by Harper if it wants to score more than a run or two.

As for the bullpen, they allowed the game to get out of hand after Nola left. Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris, and Sam Coonrod all had their chance in the seventh inning, and none of the three pitched very well. As has too often been the case in 2021, the pitchers weren’t helped out much by the defense. By the time the seventh inning was over, the Braves lead had grown to five, and the game - and essentially the season - was over.

So that’s that. Now, I’ll talk about What If...?

Near the beginning of the episode, Thanos shows up with five of the Infinity Stones, seeking to collect the Soul Stone which was possessed by Ultron. We have to suspend disbelief here because this doesn’t sync with the timeline presented in the main MCU. Or maybe whatever caused the timeline divergence also prompted Thanos to start acting sooner. I’m not sure how that all work.

That’s not really important though. The important thing is that as soon as Thanos arrives, Ultron uses the Soul Stone to slice him in half.

That’s it. He just lasers him in half, and Thanos is dead.

Why the hell didn’t Vision do that in Infinity War? I know they had to “injure” Vision early on to negate his phasing abilities, but was there any reason why he couldn’t shoot a laser? I suppose it’s the same reason why Dr. Strange didn’t open a portal, stick Thanos’ hand through it and chop it off? (You know, the same way Wong killed one of his henchmen earlier in the movie.) And that reason is: Plot convenience!

Speaking of plot convenience, the Braves can wrap up the National League East with a win tomorrow. Maybe the Phillies will postpone the inevitable by a day or so, but based on the effort I saw tonight, I seriously doubt it.