The Phillies have swung very freely in 2023. They came into tonight’s clash with the San Francisco Giants offering at 48.4% of the pitches they’ve seen (8th-highest mark in baseball) and chasing 31.9% of pitches out of the zone (3rd-highest). Giants starter Alex Cobb had walked only 4.1% of hitters he faced, placing him in the 90th percentile among qualified arms, en route to a National League-leading 1.70 ERA. If you were afraid that these factors might combine to make it a particularly tough matchup for the offense, you were not alone.
Instead, Cobb walked 5 batters in his 3.1 innings of work. He labored through the first three, allowing multiple baserunners in each. The Phillies’ apparent refusal to get a single hit with runners in scoring position held strong, though, keeping the game scoreless until the third, when Thairo Estrada and Michael Conforto each singled home a run off Zack Wheeler.
One-out singles by Brandon Marsh and Kody Clemens put two men on for the fourth straight inning, which meant the Giants had the Phillies exactly where they wanted them. Bryson Stott had other plans, ending the team’s 0-for-28 RISP stretch with an RBI single to make it a 2-1 game.
The momentum was nearly erased in rapid fashion when Bryson Stott appeared to be picked off by the right-handed Cobb. Instead, the move was deemed it a balk, scoring Clemens to tie the game.
Alex Cobb was called for a balk on this move — I can’t seem to figure this one out. #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/KypGaFreL0— Steven Rissotto (@StevenRissotto) May 17, 2023
After Stott advanced from second to third on a wild pitch and Trea Turner struck out but reached first on a second wild pitch, the irate Cobb’s night was done after 86 pitches. Taylor (not to be confused with Tyler) Rogers retired Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos to keep the score knotted at 2 apiece.
With two outs and a man on first in the bottom of the inning, Joey Bart skied a pop-up toward the first base foul line that ended up being anything but innocent.
The Giants got help from the wind on Bart's RBI pic.twitter.com/0ZbgZ6qIUn— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) May 17, 2023
It was a windy night, and neither Clemens nor Stott, who almost made a miraculous recovery on the play, could pick up the ball in the lights immediately. But given the Phillies’ uphill battle toward competent defense and the RBI single by the next batter to increase the lead to 4-2, it’s hard to give anyone the benefit of the doubt on plays like this.
Wheeler finished 6 innings, allowing 9 hits, a walk, and striking out 8. He deserved a better fate.
Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos singled to begin the seventh against Tyler (the other) Rogers, and there was hope yet again—fleeting, but hope nonetheless. June can’t come soon enough for Kyle Schwarber, who bounced into a rally-killing double play. Alec Bohm popped out to end the inning.
Scoreless outings by Seranthony Domínguez and Gregory Soto kept it 4-2. With two outs in the ninth—and, naturally, nobody on base—Schwarber connected for the 10th time this season.
10th Schwarbomb of the szn #RingTheBell pic.twitter.com/F4MT5dUdMk— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) May 17, 2023
Despite that shot, Camilo Doval was much sharper tonight than last. He struck out J.T. Realmuto to end the game.
The Phillies fall to 20-22 and will attempt to avoid the sweep tomorrow at 3:45 behind Taijuan Walker.