Considering the scenes from the Phillies’ locker room on Tuesday night, most fans didn’t expect much from the team on Wednesday. And when the team - with a lineup full of backups - fell behind the Pirates 5-0, it was easy to assume they were going to go quietly into the night. But those backups - along with a big night from Bryce Harper and the bullpen - fought back to give the Phillies their seventh straight win by a score of 7-6.
For the second straight year, Ranger Suarez got the start immediately after the Phillies clinched a playoff berth, and for the second straight year, it didn’t go well. The first four Pirate batters of the game reached base, and the damage was only limited to three runs because of a double play.
The Pirates got two more in the third, and it looked like it would be an easy win for them. But the Phillies’ refused to go down meekly. In the fourth inning, they loaded the bases, and Rodolfo Castro got the Phillies on board with an RBI groundout.
The next batter was Garrett Stubbs, and after last night, most people weren’t sure he’d even be able to see straight today.
Reminder that this was Garrett Stubbs less than 24 hours ago pic.twitter.com/6yuMs26CFe— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) September 27, 2023
Naturally, he hit his first home run of the year.
STUBBS. FRANZKE.— Nick Piccone (@_piccone) September 28, 2023
Franzke's loving it. pic.twitter.com/yOH6FWR0jf
The Pirates got one of those runs back the next inning, but Edmundo Sosa answered in kind to get the Phillies back within one run.
A Bryce Harper double followed by a Cristian Pache single, and the deficit was completely erased.
The comeback was enabled by the bullpen which provided 4.1 scoreless innings in relief of Suarez. Seranthony Dominguez, Orion Kerkering, Dylan Covey, and Gregory Soto all looked good, which is a nice sign entering the playoffs.
That allowed Bryce Harper to do what he does best.
The victory didn’t ultimately mean anything in terms of the standings or playoff positioning. But it was still fun. The Phillies will go for their eighth straight win - and the sweep - on Thursday. It’s not clear whether or not the regulars will be back in the lineup, but after watching what happened on Wednesday, I’m not sure it even matters.