Phils go quiet in the series finale as Bopper becomes Bunter

HOUSTON (AP) — Kyle Schwarber made the move to Bad Bunter from Big Bopper.

One of the Philadelphia Phillies’ most fearsome sluggers failed in a two-strike bunt attempt with his team an inning before being eliminated from the World Series. That bizarre strikeout spoke louder than Schwarber’s third-series homer that briefly put Philadelphia ahead.

After a 2-1 lead in the Fall Classic, the Phillies fizzled at the plate and lost three straight games — the most recent a 4-1 loss on Saturday night that gave the Houston Astros the six-game World Series title.

“They have good pitching,” Schwarber said. “Your pitching was pretty much spot on.”

After ending an 11-year playoff drought and becoming the first third-ranked team in baseball history to make the series, the Phillies failed to win their first crown since 2008.

“We went through a dry spell at the wrong time,” said Rob Thomson, who was unable to take on midseason as the only manager alongside Bob Lemon and Jack McKeon and lead a team to the title. “You have to give credit to their pitch.”

Philadelphia hit .101 (9 to 89) with 38 strikeouts, three runs and three extra base hits in their three straight losses, including a combined no-hitter by the Astros in Game 4 and a three-hitter in Game 6. Philadelphia batted .163 in the series overall — the lowest for a team since Detroit was held at .159 in 2012 while being swept by San Francisco.

Rhys Hoskins hit .120 (3 for 25) with an RBI, JT Realmuto hit .167 (4 for 24) with three RBIs, and Bryce Harper hit .200 (4 for 20) with two RBIs.

Nick Castellanos dropped to .125 (3 for 24) with an RBI as he finished. Schwarber was the top of the group at .250 (5 for 20) with four RBIs.

“We anticipate being here next year and the year after that,” Hoskins said. “If you can hold a group together then I think you can see how a good team has a chance to win a championship over a number of years.”

Philadelphia’s 71 strikeouts in six games was a streak record, breaking the mark set by Arizona in a seven-game streak win over the New York Yankees in 2001 and Tampa Bay in a six-game loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in two years ago.

Reaching the World Series came as a surprise to the Phillies, who were 22-29 when Thomson replaced fired manager Joe Girardi on June 3. They became the 12th and last team to secure a spot in the extended playoffs, an afterthought October at home in the previous postseason format.

“If you had asked a few people or baseball specialists earlier in the year if we were going to be in the World Series, they probably would have said no,” Castellanos said. “We were two wins away from being the best team in North America. So it’s just a building block.”

After going 87-75 in the regular season, Philadelphia won two games against NL Central champion St. Louis and beat NL East champion Atlanta, a 101-game winner, in four games of the division in the new wildcard series Series. Then the Phillies beat San Diego in five games in an all-wild card NLCS.

“It’s sustainable, that kind of winning atmosphere and winning team,” Thomson said. “You have achieved a lot. Still, it’s disappointing. And I said to them after the game, ‘You guys have nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t have to hang your head for anyone.’”

Harper looked ahead to 2023.

“I could imagine we’ll be the same team but with a few more parts that make us so much better,” he said.

Schwarber thought of the Astros’ celebrations in the other clubhouse.

“That flavor is there now, and it’s an addictive feeling,” Schwarber said. “We now know what it takes in our heads.”


AP MLB: and Phils go quiet in the series finale as Bopper becomes Bunter

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