Didn’t See That Coming: Phils Steal Series Finale From Dodgers

PHOTO CREDIT: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I’m going to level with you guys.

I had 746 words all typed out and ready to go on a Dodgers’ sweep, a week-long run of offensive impotence, a trainwreck of a 1-5 homestand, and a Phillies team that continues to play collectively worse than the individual capabilities of its parts.

I began the story in the sixth inning and fully committed to it in the eighth, right around the time Rhys Hoskins grounded into an inning-ending double play and went hard as hell on the dugout trash can.

For a moment, I thought I’d have to scrap the story after the Phillies, down to their final out in the ninth, tied the game at 2-2.

An inning later, I figured I could use it again after Corey Knebel failed to hold the Dodgers, and I was damn sure I was going to use it after J.T. Realmuto made one of the worst baserunning mistakes imaginable in the bottom of the frame.

But I guess the story just wasn’t meant to be. At least not right now, so I’ll put it on ice for a few days and bust it out should the Phillies stumble during a critical seven-game road trip against the Braves and Mets this week.

For today, however, kudos to Zach Eflin, who dominated a potent Dodgers lineup with 12 strikeouts over seven strong innings of work.

For today, let’s appreciate the work of backup catcher Garrett Stubbs, who popped a sixth-inning homer and helped spark a late rally that helped the Phillies steal a game they pretty much had no business winning.

Not only did Stubbs start the 10th inning with an infield single, but his ability to leg out a first-to-third on a Roman Quinn single allowed Quinn to move into scoring position as the trail runner.

He would soon prove the eventual winning run.

And finally, be sure to note a little bit of rare timely luck for this team, the shaky glove of Max Muncy, and the speed of Quinn, who finished off what may go down as the Phillies’ most improbable win of the season.

That’s not hyperbole either — by the time Johan Camargo struck out for the second out of the inning, the Dodgers held a 90% win probability, according to MLB Statcast.

The story Sunday could have been much different, but instead, temporary relief prevailed.

Despite a disappointing 2-4 homestand, the Phillies won just their second season series over the Dodgers dating back to 2014 while improving to 7-6 overall since the start of their west coast trip that began in Seattle two weeks ago.

This one felt important, but only time will tell if the win, the Phillies’ first of the season while trailing heading into the ninth inning in 19 tries, will spark an underachieving team, or if it will simply serve as temporary relief from more frustration ahead.