The first game of this doubleheader was a gigantic letdown. The Phillies could have made things a lot easier on themselves by winning the first game, but they didn’t, so they put themselves in a position where they had to win the nightcap.
Kyle Schwarber, better late than never, made sure that they did win.
It only took two pitches, but Schwarber made sure that a statement was made by clobbering a baseball into the upper deck and staking Noah Syndergaard to an early lead.
we're in a playoff race damn it— Nick Piccone (@_piccone) October 2, 2022
Franzke on Schwarber's leadoff dinger pic.twitter.com/gTkLl0sAxw
Not wanting to simply squeak by the Nationals by barely a run or two, the Phillies then took their frustrations of the first game out on poor Tommy Romero. In the second inning, Matt Vierling hit an RBI triple to make it 2-0 before his teammates bashed open the floodgates in the third and made the game into one where they could breathe much easier.
In that fateful third, Bryce Harper drew a one out walk, then scored when Alec Bohm got a pitch up that he could do something with.
Alec Bohm goes yard and the Phillies have a comfy lead early on pic.twitter.com/mOKtA4nLrE— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 1, 2022
Not content to leave him with all the fun, Brandon Marsh (!) drilled a solo shot to make it 5-0. Jean Segura reached thanks to an error on the only defense that might be worse than the Phillies, then scored when Vierling added to his night with a two-run home run of his own, the fifth runs of the inning and the ones that changed the score to 7-0.
Matt Vierling joins the home run party! pic.twitter.com/7lSxbobGef— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) October 1, 2022
In the fourth, Schwarber put an exclamation mark on the evening by crushing his 44th home run of the season off of Romero, his second of the night.
Kyle Schwarber's 2nd of the night and 44th on the year! pic.twitter.com/g6Hr936XON— MLB (@MLB) October 2, 2022
Meanwhile, Noah Syndergaard was cruising through the Nationals’ lineup with ease. Facing a lineup that really didn’t look like they wanted to be there, Syndergaard showed no rust from having thrown only 28 pitches in the previous 15 days. Not wanting to overexpose him, the team pulled him from the game with two outs in the sixth, but there was no real trouble. Even with the two walks he gave up that inning, they simply wanted to make sure that Washington couldn’t mount anything else against Syndergaard. It proved to be the right move as the rest of the night, they hardly did a thing. There were two harmless runs allowed in the ninth inning, but it mattered not a bit. The game was over and the magic number dropped to four.
For the Phillies, it’s a bit of a case of “what if?” with regards to starting Syndergaard in the first game. Hindsight being 20-20, they should have given him the ball then, but he came up big when the team really needed him and the team will exit the evening no worse than tied for the final wild card spot, claiming it by virtue of a tiebreaker. They’ll try and get another one in tomorrow.