The Philadelphia Phillies dropped Game 3 of the NLCS to the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 on a walk-off single by Ketel Marte. The third game of the series was a pitcher's duel, as both starting pitchers stifled the opposing offense. While most of the Phillies' pitchers stepped up in a big game, the offense was lackluster for the first time this postseason.
Ranger Suárez twirled another postseason gem as he pitched 5 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. Jeff Hoffman and José Alvarado also held the Diamondbacks scoreless. However, Orion Kerkering faced adversity for the first time this postseason as he allowed a run in the sixth inning while not recording an out. Craig Kimbrel failed to find his command in the ninth as the Diamondbacks salvaged their first home game of the series.
The Phillies' bullpen surrendered two runs, but the main reason the Phillies lost on Thursday was the lack of offensive production. Just two Phillies hitters were able to muster hits off of Brandon Pfaadt — who finished the regular season with a 5.72 ERA.
The Phillies' offense also struck out 13 times in the loss. The club's only run came on a wild pitch from Ryan Thompson in the seventh inning. Overall, the Phillies had just six baserunners in a disappointing offensive performance.
Phillies' offense should not be a cause of concern just yet
Despite the poor performance on Thursday, the Phillies' offense has been a force to be reckoned with this postseason. Through nine games, the Phillies have the highest OPS of any playoff team at .883 and have 19 home runs — five more than the next closest team. The Phillies also have three hitters with an OPS over 1.000 in Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos.
The club's offense was indeed disappointing as they looked to take a three-game lead over the Diamondbacks. The likelihood of the offense stumbling for more than a game or two is unlikely, however. The club has been hot at the plate, and every team will have a down night at the dish.
The Phillies should have the offensive advantage on Friday as the Diamondbacks plan to throw a bullpen game. The Phillies will use their effective fifth starter, Cristopher Sánchez, in Game 4. Sánchez has not pitched since the end of September, so he'll likely be on a short leash, and the team won't be expecting a gem from the left-hander.
More importantly, the offense needs to come back with a vengeance and give the pitching staff some early run support to give the club a good chance to go up three games to one.