It took extra innings, but the Phillies found a way to beat a Marlins team that always seems to have their number and avoid what would have been a highly embarrassing sweep at the hands of one of the worst teams in the National League.
Down a run, Bryce Harper’s 27th home run of the season was also the Phillies’ first hit of the game, in the fourth inning. It was closely followed up by a Freddy Galvis two-run homer to give the Phillies a two-run lead. But like anyone could have predicted when Girardi announced that this would be a bullpen game, that lead didn’t hold for long. Fortunately, tied at three in the tenth inning, Odubel Herrera singled to score Galvis as the game-winning run.
While this game eventually worked out positively in the end, it’s worth noting that Girardi’s decision for the series finale to be a bullpen game was a massive gamble that could have had serious implications for the playoff run. The point was to set up Wheeler to open the upcoming series against the Brewers and, more importantly, potentially lining him up to start the final game of the season against Miami if needed. However, had the Phillies been swept by the Marlins in an ugly fashion (really, any loss to the Marlins is in ugly fashion), the lasting effects could have been the nail in the coffin for a team trying to make the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade.
Was this the right move by Girardi? Only time will tell.