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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Craig Kimbrel

It's no surprise that the Phillies closer makes this list after back-to-back rough outings. In Game 4, his team handed him the 5-3 lead in the eighth inning, asking him to hold off the team that had hit him hard (on 25 pitches) the day before. 

Things went about as expected. 

He didn't even make it through the full inning. The right-hander threw 21 pitches, only getting 12 over for strikes.

Gurriel started the inning with a double. After Longoria lined out, Kimbrel ran the count full against pinch-hitter Alek Thomas. Thomas, who had only been hitting .160 in the postseason coming into the game, smoked a two-run home run into the pool, tying the game at 5-5. 

Phillies manager Rob Thomson decided to leave the struggling Kimbrel in, leading to a strikeout, single and hit-by-pitch. Finally, Thomson pulled him from the game, bringing in the hard-throwing José Alvarado. While Alvarado allowed one run, it was charged to Kimbrel. 

When speaking with reporters after the game, Thomson said the following when asked what he thinks went wrong with Kimbrel: "Just strike throwing ability and being able to command his pitches."

Thomson also acknowledged that going forward, he’d talk with pitching coach Caleb Cotham to see if they might move Kimbrel to more of a lower-leverage position. 

The Phillies handed their closer a 5-3 lead and left with a 6-5 deficit. While this was a team loss, with lots of mental and fundamental errors sprinkled throughout, Kimbrel once again came up short in the biggest moment of the game. 

As he said after the game, according to Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia: "The last two games sucked. I rolled up in here and cost us two games."

The Phillies can't afford to continue to rely on tired bullpen arms to try to get themselves back to the World Series. Looking to move on from yet another winnable loss, the Phillies will try to escape Arizona with one win Saturday before taking things back to Philadelphia to play out the rest of the NLCS.