That may have been one of the worst baseball games I have ever watched. There was poor defense, poor pitching, poor clutch hitting (what else is new?), poor base running, and poor managing. Oh, and the home plate umpire was pretty bad too. All of that resulted in a 6-4 ten inning game that the Pirates won simply by being slightly less awful than the Phillies.
One of the few bright spots on the day was starting pitcher Cristopher Sanchez. He had some issues with hitting batters (three on the day) but didn’t allow a hit in his five innings of work.
You might be questioning why he was lifted after just five innings if he hadn’t allowed a hit, especially considering he had only thrown 73 pitches. The best explanation I can come up with is that Rob Thomson really wanted to get Seranthony Dominguez some work.
And some work he got. One batter into Dominguez’s appearance and the no-hitter was gone. Two batters in, and the 2-0 lead was gone.
BRYAN REYNOLDS HAS TIED THE GAME. pic.twitter.com/GsyG4tyDgu— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) July 30, 2023
As troubling as this game was, the most troubling aspect might be that Dominguez has not looked good since his return from the injured list. He only retired one of the five batters he faced and needed Jeff Hoffman to relieve him and clean up the mess.
The following inning, the Pirates helped give the Phillies the lead right back. After Nick Castellanos (back in the two-hole despite being possibly the worst player in baseball since the All-Star break!) did his customary strikeout with a runner in scoring position, Pirates first baseman misplayed Bryce Harper’s grounder to first allowing a run to score. Alec Bohm followed with a single for his third RBI of the day (Don’t worry, he’d add a major screw up of his own later) to give the Phillies another two-run lead.
The Phillies quickly returned the favor. Edmundo Sosa and Trea Turner collided on an infield popup, and that runner would score thanks to a single and a misplay in center by Johan Rojas.
Yunior Marte was asked to protect that one-run lead in the eighth, and he did a poor job of it, allowing the Pirates to tie the game on two hits and a sacrifice fly. Craig Kimbrel came really close to losing the game in the ninth, but thanks in part to the ever-shifting strike zone by umpire Edwin Jimenez, he escaped for the game to go to extra innings. (Jimenez was the perfect umpire for this game, because his strike zone was as awful as the play)
The Phillies looked poised to go in front in the tenth when a Pirates error put runners on second and third. Trea Turner hit a ball to right that looked deep enough to score a run, but Bryce Harper held up on third. Unfortunately, nobody alerted Bohm to this fact. He took off for third and was caught in a rundown that ended with Harper getting thrown out at the plate.
Imagine trying to run on Henry Davis pic.twitter.com/C4JXhZCVy3— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) July 30, 2023
Perhaps if Sanchez hadn’t been pulled prematurely, the Phillies would have had a better option for the tenth than Andrew Vasquez. Alas, Vasquez got the ball, and Josh Palacios quickly put us out of our misery.
This was a miserable end to what was largely a miserable weekend of baseball for the Phillies. They’ll next head to Miami, and considering their recent history in that city, if they don’t snap out of this funk, we could be in for a bad week.