PHILADELPHIA – After losing the first two games of the National League Championship Series to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, the D-backs headed home. But they cannot rely on a mere change of location to be a cure-all.
While they were battling and fighting to drop the first game on Monday night, Tuesday was a different story as the D-backs played sloppy baseball in a 10-0 loss.
“Look, we could be playing to the moon,” right backs coach Torey Lovullo said afterward. “Everyone’s talking about coming into this environment, and I don’t care. We’ve got to play better baseball. Everyone’s got to be better. You can start with the manager and then go down to the whole team. We’ve got to play Diamondback baseball. What we saw there was nothing “Something we’ve done for a long period of time. So we have to regroup. We have to regroup and find a way to get this done.”
Arizona starter Merrill Kelly did his best to keep the D-backs in the game, allowing a pair of solo homers in the first three innings.
But that two-run deficit felt like much more because the D-backs’ offense couldn’t last against Aaron Nola, who followed up Zach Wheeler’s strong outing in Game 1 with six shutout innings.
“They do a really good job of executing,” D-backs first baseman Christian Walker said of the Phillies. “There are two sides to everything. These are really high-level guys. And when they execute, it makes our job difficult. That’s no excuse. We need to put ourselves in a position to execute better and make our own luck, so to speak. In some ways Sometimes the other person does their job too.
Kelly was chased during a four-run sixth inning that began with Kyle Schwarber hitting his second homer of the game and third of the series.
Things got out of hand after that as the Phillies scored four more runs in the seventh inning, an inning that saw a popup land when no one called for it, and left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. seemingly forgetting the ball he caught on the warning track – sacrifice fly by Nick Castellanos – It wasn’t the third out of the inning.
These are the basic types of mistakes that drive Lovullo crazy. Combine that with a lack of offensive production and it results in a blowout loss.
“Diamondback baseball grinds bats, has mature at-bats, hits more pitches, catches pop-ups, catches the baseball,” Lovullo said. “You know, pitching and defense go hand in hand, and we find a way to score five or more runs and win a baseball game by being a really smart and tenacious baseball team across the board.”
The D-backs return home expecting a big crowd to support, but history isn’t kind to teams that trail 0-2 in a best-of-seven series.
Teams that lead 2-0 in all best-of-seven postseason series have gone on to win that series 75 of 89 times. Only two teams have combined in this position over the past 26 years — the 2020 Dodgers against the Braves in the NLCS and the 2004 Red Sox against the Yankees in the ALCS.
“I’ve got to get the next one,” right back Corbin Carroll said. “You know, at this point, 0-2, that’s what it is. I’ve got to focus on what’s next. Excited to be in front of our home fans. I said it during the Dodgers series when we got to Arizona and I’ll say it again, playing a baseball game in front of our home crowd It is a special matter.
The D-backs will need to find a way to win four of the next five games to beat a Phillies team that went to the World Series last year and is playing with a lot of confidence right now.
“I mean, you can’t really paint it any better than what happened the last two games for us,” Phillies outfielder JT Realmuto said. “We hit the ball really well. We played exceptional defense. We hit the ball well, too. With that being said, this series is far from over. This is a really good ball club and we’ve got to go out to their ballpark and play now.”
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