Kyle Schwarber, Phillies hammer D-backs, take 2-0 lead
Posted on: 18 Oct, 2023 at 05:06 AM
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Schwarber is homering at a rate rarely seen in postseason history.
Unfortunately for the Arizona Diamondbacks, they've got a lot more to worry about with the Philadelphia Phillies than just Schwarber.
The Phillies remained red-hot Tuesday night, when Schwarber homered twice and Philadelphia racked up seven extra-base hits on its way to a 10-0 win over the visiting Diamondbacks in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
The defending NL champion Phillies lead the best-of-seven series two games to none. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Arizona.
Seventy-five of the 89 teams to take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series have won the series. Since the wild card was implemented in 1995, only three teams -- the 1996 Atlanta Braves in the World Series, the 2004 New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series and the 2020 Braves in the NLCS -- have squandered a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven set.
"I mean, you can't really draw it up any better than the last two games have gone for us," Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto said.
The win was the seventh in eight playoff games this month for the Phillies, who have outscored the opposition 46-13. Philadelphia has outscored Arizona 15-3 in the first two games of the NLCS, during which it has homered six times and doubled six times.
Phillies starters Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have combined to allow two runs on six hits with no walks and 15 strikeouts in 12 innings.
"It's not going to be every day, but the way that these guys are throwing the ball right now, it's been fantastic," Schwarber said, "And it makes our jobs a lot easier. And hopefully, as we keep going through this, we can make their jobs a little bit easier, too, with scoring some runs."
The Diamondbacks, who swept the Milwaukee Brewers in an NL wild-card series and swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in an NL Division Series, endured the first postseason shutout defeat in franchise history on Tuesday.
"I believe in our offense," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "Their starting pitcher last night and tonight, they were both outstanding. To get to where we have to go, we have to find a way to beat these guys."
One night after Schwarber led off the home half of the first with a homer in a 5-3 win, the second batter in the Phillies' lineup went deep in the opening inning on Tuesday. Trea Turner socked a 421-foot shot to left-center off Merrill Kelly (1-1).
Schwarber hit solo homers in the third and sixth -- the only other hits surrendered by Kelly. The 30-year-old slugger has 10 homers in 21 LCS games dating back to his rookie season with the Chicago Cubs in 2015. That's tied for second all time in LCS play with Albert Pujols and behind only Manny Ramirez (13).
Schwarber has nine homers overall in 25 postseason games for the Phillies, the fourth most in franchise history. He trails only Jayson Werth (11) and Bryce Harper and Chase Utley (10 apiece).
In addition, Schwarber's 18 career postseason homers are tied for the seventh-most all time and tied for the most among left-handed hitters with Reggie Jackson.
"Schwarber's a heckuva player," Phillies left fielder Brandon Marsh told MLB Network after the game. "He starts it off for us every night, and he gets the job done."
The Phillies scored their final seven runs Tuesday without a homer. Following Schwarber's sixth-inning blast, Realmuto hit a two-run double and scored on Marsh's double later in the frame.
In the seventh, Alec Bohm ripped a two-RBI double and Realmuto delivered a run-scoring single before Nick Castellanos lofted a sacrifice fly.
"That means the other half of the runs came from stringing hits together," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said, "so we can do it both ways."
Nola (3-0) allowed three hits while striking out seven over six innings. The Diamondbacks got just two runners as far as second base against Nola and a trio of relievers.
Ketel Marte had two of the Diamondbacks' four hits.
"We have to play better baseball," Lovullo said. "Everybody has to be better. You can start with the manager and then trickle all the way down through the entire team."
Kelly gave up four runs on three hits and three walks while striking out six over 5 2/3 innings.
--Field Level Media