2022 MLB Playoffs: Phillies’ steady approach proves their demise in Game 2

By Jake Mintz
FOX Sports MLB Writer

SAN DIEGO — Phillies supervisor Rob Thomson by no means panics. But in Game 2 of the NLCS on Wednesday afternoon, he most likely must have. At least slightly bit.

Since turning into the performing supervisor on June 3, Thomson has rejuvenated the Phillies together with his composed, even-keeled and hands-off approach to managing. He is, to a fault, a man who trusts his guys, who infrequently we could a second crush him. 

For essentially the most section, that has been a just right factor. The Phillies are in the NLCS, finally. But in what may end up to be essentially the most high-leverage state of affairs of this whole collection, Thomson’s calmness and steadfast religion in his avid gamers resulted in his workforce’s undoing.

In essentially the most pivotal second of the NLCS to this point, a second that known as for a southpaw, Thomson went to his second-best lefty, Brad Hand, as an alternative of his unmarried maximum dominant reliever, José Alvarado, and the chief ended up paying the associated fee. When the sport known as for an assertive transfer, one that would’ve given the Phils a commanding 2-0 lead, Thomson didn’t deviate from the norm, didn’t panic, didn’t zag.

As a consequence, the sport unraveled in the blink of a watch.

Padres post 5 runs in the 5th inning


Juan Soto and Brandon Drury propel the San Diego Padres with an RBI double and two-run unmarried to take a 7-4 lead at the Philadephia Phillies.

When the Phillies confirmed former supervisor Joe Girardi the door in June after a disappointing get started and promoted Thomson from bench trainer to period in-between skipper, the message used to be transparent: Something wishes to switch. And whilst the 2 males have a qualified dating that dates again many years, Thomson — a lifelong “baseball guy” who’d by no means controlled in the bigs — used to be picked to helm the Phillies in section as a result of how other a pacesetter he’s in comparison to the outdated boss.

Girardi used to be emotive all through video games, now and then visibly pissed off when issues went south. Thomson is freakishly stoic, completely unfazed via the roller-coaster peaks and valleys of a unmarried recreation or a complete season. Girardi advanced a name for being tricky on his avid gamers, an energetic motivator who demanded everybody’s ideal all the time. Thomson is a lot more hands-off, who prefer to let guys determine issues out for themselves.

Many across the Phillies believed Girardi’s extra hardened approach performed an important function in cultivating a annoying atmosphere with an absence accept as true with and striking many avid gamers, in particular more youthful ones, on edge. Under Thomson, the vibe switched. Nowadays, the Phillies are decidedly extra comfy, extra truthful with one some other, and avid gamers really feel empowered to be themselves off and on the diamond. 

It’s obviously running. Thomson’s taste of management helped revive the Phillies, taking them from October afterthought the entire option to the NLCS. When the highest two hitters in Philadelphia’s lineup, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins, began the postseason on frosty chilly streaks, Thomson didn’t panic and didn’t transfer up the order. 

In Game 3 of the NLDS, Hoskins rewarded that religion with a now-iconic Philly sports activities second. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Schwarber went 2-for-3 with a physics-defying moonshot that equipped some respiration room in a decent 2-0 win.

Kyle Schwarber cranks a solo house run

Kyle Schwarber cranks a solo home run

Kyle Schwarber crushes a mammoth house run off Yu Darvish to position the Phillies up 2-0 at the Padres.

But accept as true with is a double-edged sword. 

Sure, it’s nice to bounce with the date you got here with, however what if their toes get drained? Panic has its position, and there’s one thing to be stated for the occasional glass-half-empty outlook. Faith isn’t at all times essentially the most robust drive at play. (Feel unfastened to make use of any of the ones on your yearbook quote, children.)

Granted, it’s tricky guilty Thomson for sticking with Aaron Nola, who hadn’t allowed greater than 4 runs in a get started in just about two months, so long as he did. The Phillies were given this some distance as a result of Nola and Zack Wheeler have labored deep into video games, simplifying issues for the membership’s shallow bullpen. 

No, it used to be Thomson’s refusal to deviate from the standard blueprint that doomed his membership in Game 2.

Nola didn’t have the good things Wednesday. In the primary inning, Juan Soto and Manny Machado hit balls greater than 110 mph on a couple of ignored spots. A body later, Nola gave up back-to-back solo photographs on consecutive pitches to Brandon Drury and Josh Bell, marking the primary time since July 26 that he surrendered a couple of homers in an day trip. 

In the 5th inning, issues were given even worse. With Padres on moment and 3rd and the left-handed Jake Cronenworth due up, Thomson summoned Hand into the sport. The 32-year-old southpaw has been a key a part of Philly’s ‘pen all season, tossing 45 innings of 2.80 ERA ball. But in October, in the biggest moments, whether they come in the fifth or the ninth, call for the best you got. That’s Alvarado, an impressive determine with a fire-breathing fastball who has allowed simply 5 runs in his previous 31 appearances.

Instead, Hand hit Cronenworth with an 0-2 slider to load the bases after which yielded two knocks to Drury and Bell. That gave San Diego a 7-4 lead it might by no means relinquish. Padres win. Long flight house for the fellows in purple.

MLB Playoffs: Padres vs. Phillies NLCS Game 2 recap

MLB Playoffs: Padres vs. Phillies NLCS Game 2 recap

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry recap a wild NLCS Game 2 between the Padres and Phillies, with the Padres bats exploding for 8 runs on 13 hits.

After the sport, Thomson, in his trademark monotone voice, showed that he had no aim to visit Alvarado so early in the sport. That’s comprehensible to some extent, taking into consideration that Alvarado hasn’t seemed in the 5th inning of a recreation since overdue May. Other managers may’ve performed their ideal card in that spot and discovered the longer term when it came to visit. Still, Thomson stated he harbored no remorseful about.

This is how Thomson handles issues, how he has at all times treated issues, with a steady middle fee and a sweatless forehead. His calm demeanor has taken the Phillies to heights they hadn’t reached in a decade. 

Whether his adherence to staying the path will sink his membership in the top continues to be observed. There is far of this collection left to move.

But make certain that the following time Thomson is confronted with a identical puzzle, he’ll most probably maintain it in identical style. He’s a competent presence, unswerving as they arrive. 

That’s a part of why the Phillies are nonetheless 3 wins clear of the World Series.

Jake Mintz, the louder half of of @CespedesBBQ is a baseball author for FOX Sports. He’s an Orioles fan dwelling in New York City, and thus, he leads a lonely life maximum Octobers. If he’s no longer looking at baseball, he’s virtually definitely driving his motorbike. Follow him on Twitter @Jake_Mintz.

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