The Philadelphia Phillies' season ended sooner than many expected on Tuesday night. The club's first Game 7 appearance in its history did not go according to plan, as they were eliminated and sent home, not reaching their goal of the World Series.
Overall, the Phillies looked good from a pitching and offensive standpoint for much of the postseason, but bullpen issues and untimely slumps eventually led to the club spiraling and losing two home games, which ended the 2023 postseason run.
While fans are still reeling from the shocking Game 6 and 7 losses, it's worth remembering that much of the postseason up until the Arizona road trip was successful. The Phillies swept the Miami Marlins in the Wild Card Series and knocked the division rival Atlanta Braves out of playoff contention for the second consecutive season.
In a roller coaster of a postseason run, who were the bright spots in a disappointingly short postseason?
There are other players, such as Jeff Hoffman and José Alvarado, who deserve honorable mentions. Both relievers pitched well when called upon and will likely be big factors in the 2024 Phillies' bullpen.
Offensive stars such as Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber all had big hits and monster home runs in the 2023 playoffs but were omitted because they faded in the final two games in Philadelphia in the win-or-go-home games.
The Phillies relied heavily on Zack Wheeler in each postseason series. The ace didn't disappoint. In five postseason appearances — four of which were starts — Wheeler dominated his opponents. He posted a 1.95 ERA in 27 2/3 innings, during which he struck out 35 hitters. Opposing batters hit just .170 against him in the playoffs, and Wheeler's WHIP was an astonishing 0.72.
Wheeler has been a workhorse for the Phillies since he was signed prior to the 2020 season. Rob Thomson and the rest of the club knew when the ace took the mound, they would have a shot to win a ballgame. When the Phillies were in a do-or-die Game 7 situation, Wheeler was available out of the bullpen.
Thomson didn't hesitate to use his ace in relief. Wheeler entered Game 7 to stop the Diamondbacks from putting any more runs on the board. He succeeded. Wheeler pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 out of the bullpen. Unfortunately for the Phillies, the offense couldn't capitalize.