The bad juju was all over the place. The losing streak, the recent uptick in striking out, the lack of vaccinations, all of it case a shroud of inevitability over the Phillies coming into this game.
Then they had to see Sandy Alcantara.
A game that most people chalked up as a loss before a pitch had even been thrown turned into a tense victory that snapped a four game losing streak for the Phillies. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but it sure counts just the same in the win column.
Alcantara started the game throwing seven pitches in the first inning, all strikes, all getting them out in order. It felt like a no-hitter, maybe even a perfect game was on the table. Through three innings, that feeling only grew as Alcantara set the Phillies’ lineup down in order through those three innings. The Marlins grabbed a run of their own in the second inning when Bryan De La Cruz hit a sacrifice fly that scored Avisail Garcia, making it 1-0. Alcantara stayed dominant into the fifth inning, allowing his first baserunner when J.T. Realmuto singled to give them their first hit, but that was quickly erased on a double play by Bryson Stott.
That feeling of inevitability? “Palpable” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Funny thing though, Alcantara wasn’t the only pitcher making good pitches. Kyle Gibson was excellent on the mound as well. Gibson did allow that run in the second inning, but he looked as in command of his game as he has the past five or six starts. He would end up going six innings, allowing only four hits, one walk and striking out five, the one run on the sacrifice fly the only stain on his ledger.
In the seventh, with Alcantara seemingly on cruise control, the Phillies were able to string together some timely hits. It started with a rare walk by the Marlins ace to Rhys Hoskins, then a punch shot through the gaping shift by Nick Castellanos to give the Phillies a threat. Darick Hall would come up and go the opposite way for a double that scored Hoskins and tied the game at one.
Darick Hall ties the game with an RBI double! But Nick Castellanos runs through stop sign from Dusty Wathan pic.twitter.com/YEFnwwvRAY— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) July 16, 2022
The problem, though, was that Castellanos showed poor judgement running through a stop sign at third and was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning, something that was looking really bad until Realmuto stepped to the plate. Realmuto would come up huge by doubling as well down the line, scoring Hall and giving the Phillies the 2-1 lead.
Clutch knock from J.T. Realmuto off Sandy Alcantara to give the Phillies a late lead against the Marlins. pic.twitter.com/h5ckbp45Nh— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) July 16, 2022
With Gibson out, it was then up to the suddenly...good?...Phillies bullpen to bring the game home, something Jose Alvarado and Brad Hand did with ease in the seventh and eighth innings, meaning Seranthony Dominguez was tabbed to close it out.
Now, Miami has been a house of horrors over the years for the Phillies. That meant that that inevitable feeling of impending doom crept back into the hearts of people watching the game, something that started to come to pass once Dominguez began to lose his control. After getting the first out of the inning, he would walk Jorge Soler, who was then replaced by noted speedster Billy Hamilton at first. Hamilton clearly got into the psyche of Dominguez, who then walked the next batter in Garcia. With Brian Anderson up, the Marlins executed a double steal, further rattling Dominguez, who would walk Anderson to load the bases. Jesus Sanchez would pinch hit and ground out to Stott, who threw home for an out, but the bases were still full for Miguel Rojas, the Phillies Slayer.
Seranthony Dominguez escapes the jam and gets the save!! pic.twitter.com/rDcUy4eOe2— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) July 16, 2022
It was way too close for comfort, but again, it’s still a win in the books. They’ll go back at it tomorrow when the Phillies get to face touted prospect Max Meyer in his big league debut.