After taking the first two games of the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Philadelphia Phillies had all the confidence and momentum heading into Game 3 in Arizona. After all, the whole team had been firing on all cylinders; whether it was the offense, the defense or the pitching, they appeared to be unstoppable.
However, the Phillies finally got their first reality check on Thursday as their four-game postseason winning streak was finally halted in a tightly-contested 2-1 loss at the hands of the Diamondbacks. Offense was hard to come by for both clubs during the ballgame, so even the tiniest things could ultimately become huge difference-makers.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, it went against them this time as the Diamondbacks climbed back into the series and now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven NLCS.
There were a few minor blips in performance, but they were enough to cost the Phillies the game. Here, we look at three players who played a part in preventing the team from going up 3-0.
Nick Castellanos has been probably the most surprising contributor thus far for the Phillies during the 2023 postseason, playing behind superstars Bryce Harper and Trea Turner. Entering the game, he was hitting over .300 with seven runs scored, five home runs and seven RBI in just eight games. However, he definitely chose the wrong time to have his worst playoff game to date.
With the bulk of the Phillies’ offense neutralized by the Diamondbacks’ pitching, they were looking to a red-hot Castellanos to provide a much-needed spark. Unfortunately, Castellanos posted a strikeout trifecta on the day, as he would go down each time chasing a ball out of the zone for strike three.
It may be hard to blame someone who has been a big part of the Phillies’ success so far this postseason, but a little more patience by Castellanos at the plate at key moments could have provided enough to start a rally that may have made a difference in the end.