Phillies vs. Padres Score Takeaways: Philadelphia Takes NLCS Game 3 Behind Jean Segura, Seranthony Dominguez


The Philadelphia Phillies retook the series lead in the NL Championship Series against the San Diego Padres, winning 4-2 Friday night in Game 1 of the NLCS in Citizens Bank Park since October 23, 2010. To the delight of the 45,279 fans who packed Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies came out on top in an entertaining game from start to finish.

The Phillies, who saved closer Serantony Dominguez with six outs, now hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven NL Championship Series.

Let’s run it.

Schwarber opened with a bomb

It didn’t take long for the Phillies to get on the board. Leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber took care of that.

Schwarber had two brutal first rounds of the playoffs, but hit a monster shot (488 feet) in Game 1 and now it put the Phillies up 1-0 early. Schwarber became only the second Phillies player to hit a leadoff home run in the playoffs after (who else?) Jimmy Rollins, who did it three times (via ESPN Stats and Information). He had seven leadoff home runs in the regular season and this was his 11th career playoff home run in his 137th at-bat.

Jean Segura rode a Game 3 roller coaster

Some extreme good and bad for Phillies second baseman Jean Segura, who was the active player with the most career regular-season games played and no playoff appearances just a few weeks ago.

The bad…
Much has been said about the Phillies being the worst defensive team left in the playoffs, and that goes back two rounds, and he bit them in the top of the fourth. The Padres had runners on first and third after Brandon Drury’s intercepted ground ball with one out went wide open on the right side. The Phillies had a 1-0 lead at the time, so they had the corners inside, ready to throw home on a ground ball. The middle was back, playing for the double play. Phillies starter Ranger Suarez did his job and grounded out to Bryson Stott at shortstop. They had a chance for a double play and it was a good inning, but Segura just dropped the ball at second. We can’t be sure the double play would have been converted, but we never had a chance to find out.

The good

In the bottom half of the inning, Segura came up with runners on second and third in a 1-1 tie. With two strikes, he fought off a breaking pitch from Joe Musgrove and hit it between center and right to drive in two runs. It was an impressive hit to make contact and float into the outfield to score two runs.

bad again

He was then intercepted to end the inning. Thanks to Segura being pinned at first and Nick Castellanos hitting into a double play off a single by Bryce Harper, the Phillies went 4-for-5 in the bottom of the fourth and scored two runs. Definitely not a bad entry, but it seems like they should have moved on after 4 out of 5, right?

the good again

Segura then made a big defensive play to end the top of the seventh inning with a Padres runner on base, his second stop of the night. It was an up-and-down night for the veteran who is a playoff rookie.

Perhaps this best sums up Segura’s night.

Suarez was slightly better than Musgrove

With no days off left in the series, the last thing any manager needed to deal with was a starting pitcher who couldn’t get his team out of the early innings.

Ranger Suarez was right up there with the Phillies. He started the game on fire, scoring strikeouts for Ha-seong Kim and Juan Soto. He would end up lasting five innings and only needed 68 pitchers to do it. As such, he would be fresher if there is a Game 7. He only allowed two runs on two hits, but only won one run as his defense was shoddy behind him, committing two errors.

Musgrove was a bit more of a mixed bag.

He started opposite Suarez, giving the opening bomb to Schwarber and then walking twice in a row before Bryce Harper hit a double play. He settled in after that, getting stronger as the game progressed. He struggled in the fourth and can’t blame the defense. He just got hit. Credit Segura for the two-out knockout we discussed earlier, too.

Musgrove then struck out to the side in the fifth. He grounded out two to start the sixth as well, but then Nick Castellanos and Alec Bohm hit back-to-back doubles to give the Phillies a 4-2 lead. Juan Soto mis-turned Bohm’s hit into a double, but in the end it didn’t matter as Bohm didn’t score.

Musgrove End Line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

You have to give both starters credit for pitching well enough to keep the bullpens from being taxed. However, Suarez was definitely the better of the two.

The Phillies’ bullpen was stellar.

Even with Suarez throwing well, the Phillies needed a big job from their oft-criticized bullpen. Zach Eflin pitched a scoreless sixth, and although he allowed two hits, manager Rob Thomson correctly pointed out on the broadcast that all he did was catch ground balls. Two turned out to be hits.

From there, Thomson gave it to his two best relievers. Jose Alvarado struck out two in his inning of work and came back out for the eighth but allowed a leadoff single to Juan Soto. It should be noted that the ball wasn’t hit well, but let’s also give Soto credit for fighting off a two-strike pitch for an at-bat single to left. Thomson then turned to Seranthony Dominguez with six outs to go.

The only Phillies pitcher to record a six-out playoff save, previously, was Tug McGraw. He did it once in the 1980 National League Championship Series and then twice in the World Series, most recently in Game 6, exactly 42 years ago.

Dominguez struck out Manny Machado to set the tone. He came out of the eighth unscathed. Josh Bell singled to lead off the ninth inning, bringing the tying run to the plate, but a strikeout (on a check-swing call that Jurickson Profar didn’t like), one out, and one strikeout ended the threat.

Dominguez’s heavy lifting there, and he might not be available for Game 4. Alvarado also threw 27 pitches, but the bottom line is the Phillies had to hold onto this lead and they did. Game played well by Thomson and good work by the great Phillies relievers to bring him home.

The Padres bullpen rests

One thing to file for Game 4, though, is that Padres relievers Tim Hill and Pierce Johnson finished the game without giving up any more Phillies runs. This kept his team in the game but more importantly allowed manager Bob Melvin to avoid using the likes of Nick Martinez, Luis Garcia, and most importantly Robert Suarez and closer Josh Hader (who went back to being the same as before) .

Whats Next?

We’ll do it again on Saturday night for Game 4. This time it will be 7:45 pm ET and surely those extra eight minutes of rest will be important for both fighters after Friday’s 7:37 kick-off time.

Seriously, though, it goes without saying that we’re in some serious territory here in the series. A Phillies win means a 3-1 series lead and just a whiff of the World Series, while a Padres win means we’d head into Game 5 with the series tied at two and a very real chance of an epic game of seven games.

The Padres are going to start Mike Clevinger. He is a clear step down from the Padres’ two best right-handers in Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove, but he is capable and can be dominant. This was not the case in Game 1 of the NLDS, when he allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Dodgers. The only time he faced the Phillies this season he pitched five scoreless innings on May 17.

On the Phillies’ side will be left-hander Bailey Falter, who hasn’t pitched since the regular season. Noah Syndergaard, who started NLDS Game 4, could be used behind Falter.


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