The joke(?) is that Philadelphia sports fans have two modes: cocky and distraught, with nothing in between. After Wednesday’s loss in game two of the NLCS, guess which mode most fans are set to?
Welcome back to the cocky distraught meter where 24 hours ago it was "Phillies in 4" and now the season is over— Explaining The Phillies (@ExplainingPhils) October 20, 2022
I’m not going to pretend that game two was good. They had a prime opportunity to put an early stranglehold on the series and came up small. Even worse than just suffering a loss was how they suffered it. Watching Aaron Nola blow a 4-0 lead brought back unfortunate memories of the 2011 NLDS when Cliff Lee was also unable to hold a 4-0 lead.
the Phillies entered today 27-2 in franchise postseason history when leading by 4+ runs in a game— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 19, 2022
the 2 losses:
2011 NLDS G2
1993 WS G4
But did you really expect the Phillies to sweep this series? When a team opens a series with two games on a road, the goal is almost always to split those two games, and that was accomplished. If the Phillies had lost the first game and then won the second, most fans would be ecstatic to have a 1-1 series with the next three at home.
If the Phillies lose the first one and win the second we are all like 97% more excited and calm - this is a lesson we cannot learn— Wiffleball (@CorkballOne) October 20, 2022
If you’re worried about the order in which the win and loss came, you shouldn’t be. Momentum is fickle in sports. Think back to that 2011 NLDS. After the Phillies blew game two, they earned a comeback win of their own in game three. Did that win give them any momentum heading into game four? The results indicate that it did not.
Remember the Kim Batiste game in the 1993 NLCS? You might have thought that thrilling victory propelled the Phillies to victory, but the Braves spent the next two games demolishing Phillies pitching before getting shut down in game four by Danny Jackson.
⚾️OTD 1993 NLCS Gm 4: Danny Jackson holds Braves to 1 run over 7.2 innings in Atlanta and singles in the winning run, 2-1. Series tied, 2-2. (getty images) phillies pic.twitter.com/ZR2wvEajAA— Larry Shenk (@ShenkLarry) October 10, 2022
Jackson’s heroics should remind us to calm down about the upcoming pitching matchups. Losing a Nola start was bad because biggest supposed advantage the Phillies had were the two aces at the front of their rotation. But as great as Wheeler and Nola have been lately, it always seemed likely that they’d have to win at least one game started somebody besides those two. If that prospect worries you, just remember that the Phillies won two NLDS games (against a better team) in which neither Wheeler nor Nola pitched.
I’m getting annoyed at people acting like the scheduled matchup of Joe Musgrove vs. Ranger Suarez is a huge mismatch in the Padres’ favor. I acknowledge that Musgrove had an excellent season. He was also rocked for six runs the last time he faced the Phillies.
Phillies 6, Padres 2. The Phillies hung six on Joe Musgrove, one of the best starters in the majors this season. Schwarber and Realmuto hit two big dingers. Two hours, 38 minutes! The Phillies are 37-34.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) June 24, 2022
Musgrove has been excellent thus far in the playoffs, but before yesterday, the same could have been said about Aaron Nola.
As for Suarez, he had some issues with his control in his last start against the Braves, but the start was far from disastrous. In his only start against the Padres this season, he pitched into the eighth inning, only allowing one run.
If you want to spend the next day and a half dooming about the Phillies, that’s your choice. But if you don’t want to live your life in despair, you can remember that the Phillies are tied in the series and about to play three straight games in front of a frenzied home crowd. Based on everything I’ve seen out of the Phillies in 2022, there’s a good chance that we’ll be shifting back into cocky mode very soon.