3 Phillies to blame for disastrous NLCS Game 4 loss

The Diamondbacks took advantage of mental and fundamental mistakes made by the Phillies.
NLCS Game 4, Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks
NLCS Game 4, Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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After another punch to the face Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies head into Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks tied at 2-2. 

It was another game to forget for the Phillies, who saw sloppy play in the field, on the basepaths and on the mound lead to another collapse late in the game against a team that has taken control of momentum in the series. 

Down 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Philadelphia got a much-needed home run from Kyle Schwarber to kick up some dust after a lackluster Game 3. The Phillies carried that momentum through the next three innings, adding on in each frame to build a solid 5-2 lead to carry into the bottom of the seventh inning.

From there, things fell apart for the bullpen, which was again tasked with coming into a game early after starter Cristopher Sánchez was taken out after 2 1/3 innings. Ultimately, the Diamondbacks scored four runs across the seventh and eighth innings, pulling out a come-from-behind 6-5 victory. 

Before the Phillies look ahead to Game 5 and attempt to fight to get back on top in the series, let's revisit Game 4's performances and see who stood out in the subpar showing for the team. 

Gregory Soto

There was a theme with the second half of the bullpen Friday night — the inability to throw strikes. With the lead, the relievers needed to deliver strikes and get ahead of hitters.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Phillies called on left-hander Gregory Soto, who had not pitched since Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Oct. 12.

The first batter he faced, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, worked the count full before getting a single. Next up? Second baseman Ketel Marte saw another 3-2 count before seeing ball four and taking his free base. Outfielder Corbin Carroll offered at the second pitch he saw after being ahead 1-0 in the count, hitting into a fielder's choice and ending Soto's day. He only recorded one out.

After burning through four relievers the night before, the Phillies were trying to preserve bullpen arms as much as possible. Instead, Soto's lack of control forced the team to go back to the pen.

First up was Orion Kerkering, who was pitching in back-to-back days for the first time in his career. He couldn't find the strike zone and eventually walked in Perdomo, a run charged to Soto.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto had a front-row seat to the pitching struggles yesterday. As relayed by Matt Gelb of The Athletic, Realmuto pointed to command being the driver behind the struggles: "I thought a lot of our pitchers looked sped up to me. That's what happens when you fall behind in counts and let base runners on."

With the bullpen being used heavily this postseason, the team needs to be able to rely on fresh arms to come in, throw strikes and record outs. Soto, along with others, fell short in Game 4.