Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Protecting a narrow late-inning lead, a Phillies reliever starts an inning with a walk. The situation is compounded by a fielding error. The result is a...win? Yes, instead of the deflating defeats we’ve grown so accustomed to in recent seasons, Corey Knebel pitched his way out of a two-on, nobody out jam to preserve a 1-0 win over the Cardinals.
In recent weeks, both Phillies starter Kyle Gibson and Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson have had some shaky outings. Naturally, they combined for 13 shutout innings on Saturday, allowing a total of just four hits.
On Friday night, the Phillies were carried by Alec Bohm’s two solo home runs. On Saturday, they couldn’t even manage that. The offense was silent until the ninth inning when Darick Hall delivered the team’s only extra base hit of the game with a leadoff double.
He was advanced to third by a Didi Gregorius sacrifice and scored on a Bohm sacrifice fly.
One run isn’t a lot of offense, so it’s a good thing that the Cardinals have apparently completely lost the ability to score runs against Phillies pitching.
The Phillies now have 27 straight shutout innings vs the Cardinals— Aidan Doc (@AidanDoc_) July 9, 2022
They had as good an opportunity as they might ever get in the ninth. With Seranthony Dominguez unavailable, Corey Knebel was in for the save, and promptly walked the leadoff batter. Paul Goldschmidt followed with a ground ball to Bohm who made an errant throw in an attempt to get the lead runner at second.
Apparently, Knebel had them right where he wanted them. First, he froze Nolan Arenado.
Great job by Corey Knebel and the Phillies to work themselves out of this ninth inning jam for the win pic.twitter.com/lJo4xzXg7D— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 9, 2022
He coaxed a weak ground ball from Dylan Carlson that the runner couldn’t score on. And he closed it out by getting Corey Dickerson to fly out.
Shutting out the opponent is always a good formula for victory, but it seems inevitable that the Cardinals will eventually score another run against their pitching staff. In the remaining games of the series, I suggest the Phillies score a few more runs so they don’t have to rely on their relievers escaping jams.