After the excruciating disappointment of their 5-1 Game 6 loss in the National League Championship Series, the Philadelphia Phillies have less than 24 hours to regroup and show up for the biggest game of their season.
With their entire 2023 campaign hanging in the balance, tonight's Game 7 of the NLCS versus the Arizona Diamondbacks will determine whether the Phillies pack their bags to go home for the winter or on a short trip to Texas for their second straight World Series appearance.
So, who will manager Rob Thomson have at his disposal from the 26-man NLCS roster the Phillies set out with just over a week ago?
According to the Phillies' skipper, almost everyone in the dugout and bullpen will be in play once the game starts — everyone except, of course, Game 6 starter Aaron Nola.
"I think it's going to be all hands on deck, everybody but Nola," Thomson said.
One thing's for sure: they'll start with Ranger Suárez on the mound. But from there, who knows what the pitching lineup will look like.
What about Craig Kimbrel? The reliever, who will no doubt be made a scapegoat if the Phillies can't win tonight, made a successful appearance in Game 6. It was a low-leverage spot, with the Phillies down 5-1 in the eighth, but it seemed like a "get right" outing.
Despite liking what he saw from his veteran closer, Thomson wasn't forthcoming about where Kimbrel fits in the Game 7 plans.
"I don't know how we're gonna use him moving forward," Thomson said. "I mean, it depends on the game state, but I thought he, I thought he was better, you know, he moved his hands down to his belt. But I thought he was better. I thought he had a little bit more rhythm."
As for how Topper wants his players to approach tonight's season-deciding game, he wants them to keep things loose in their preparation.
"I think you just got to come in here like it's any other day, be loose and relaxed and go play your game."
Hopefully, the game the Phillies play tonight is more reminiscent of the games they played in the first two contests of this series.