You lose a game, fine, but that was an appalling performance with a chance to win the pennant at home.

Casual, flat, undisciplined, unserious – take your pick from Roget’s Thesaurus. There was an alarming lack of urgency with a trip to the World Series on the line. That looked nothing like the Phillies team we saw in Game 5, nor did it remotely resemble the group we saw dispatch Miami and Atlanta with relative ease.

I think they get it done in game 7, but if they lose, hoo boy! It would be just as bad as any Eagles defeat of 20 years ago. It would be the same level of disappointment as:

  • Birds/Buccaneers, only this time Ketel fucking Marte is Joe Jurevicius
  • Sixer/Hawks, but Ben Simmons passing the ball is Nick Castellanos all of a sudden forgetting how to hit
  • Eagles/Chiefs, with Rob Thomson taking Jonathan Gannon’s place as public enemy #1
  • the 1993 World Series
  • the 2011 NLDS
  • 1987 Stanley Cup Finals Game 7
  • 2004 NFC title game
  • 2023 Sixers/Celtics Game 7
  • Flyers/Blackhawks Game 6 with that stupid, anticlimactic Patrick Kane goal
  • Kawhi Leonard’s quadruple doink
  • blowing a 2-1 series lead in the 2022 World Series
  • blowing a 3-2 lead in MLS Cup

So on and so forth. This will be just as bad as anything on that list, which could be much, much longer. I’ve spared us all by keeping it relatively short.

The stories will be absolutely abhorrent. Imagine blowing two chances at home to go to the World Series, and you lost to Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt. Not prime Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, but Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt. You’d have lost to a 6 seed, 84-win team with MLB’s 10th-lowest payroll. You’d have to hear the Jimmy Eat World drummer talk shit until the day you die. All five Diamondbacks fans will be waiting for us at the gates of hell, ready to extend an eternity of torment and damnation.

As a reminder, it’s not a matter of disrespect. Nobody disrespects Arizona. They’re here for a reason. They swept two division winners to reach the NLCS, but they also happen to be an underdog team on a Cinderella run. They’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, which is a position that Philadelphia teams prefer to play from. We don’t necessarily feel comfortable being the favorite or having high expectations. That seems to go for players and fans alike. If you can’t feed off the criticism and the “nobody likes us” manta, then what? Sometimes you just have to go out and handle business as the better team on your home field without any psychological self-manipulation or faux motivation. There’s no Orlando Arcia in this series to direct the inspiration, so it’s going to have to be organic instead.

What we know now is what we knew at the beginning of the NLCS. This D Backs lineup is not any better than the Phils’ lineup. Torey Lovullo is not any better of a manager than Rob Thomson. The trio of Zac Gallen, Kelly, and Pfaadt is not any better than the trio of Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Ranger Suarez. Their bullpen isn’t any better than the Phillies bullpen. You can call some of these positional matchups a wash, but in no area is Arizona better than this Phillies team, and that needs to be proven tonight, definitively. If you are even 75% of the team we think you are, you will handle business and put these bums away.

No pressure though, go Phils.