4th and 9: Rangers 11, Phillies 7

Mar 30, 2023 - 11:51 PM
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Robbie Grossman got the better of Aaron Nola on Thursday | Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The defending National League champions took the field on Opening Day and started off like they were hell-bent on defending that crown. They scored five runs off new Rangers ace Jacob deGrom, and Aaron Nola looked to be in complete control.

And then the bottom of the fourth happened. Suddenly, Nola wasn’t in control anymore, the two relievers who followed him were even worse, and the Rangers had put up a nine-run inning that propelled them to a 11-7 victory.

Jacob deGrom has had the Phillies’ number over the years - though to be fair, he’s had most teams’ number over the years - but they didn’t have much problem with him on Thursday afternoon. A lot of people have predicted a big year from Alec Bohm, and in the second inning, he gave us a signal that those predictions could be correct.

Back-to-back triples led to two more runs in the third, and a combination of a Bohm double and Brandon Marsh single knocked deGrom out of the game in the fourth. It looked like we were well on our way to a fun, easy Opening Day.

Suddenly, it wasn’t fun anymore. After cruising through the first three innings, Aaron Nola fell apart in the fourth. You wouldn’t think that a veteran starting pitcher would get gassed in the fourth inning, but that’s what seemed to happen. The Rangers weren’t missing anything he threw up there, and after a Robbie Grossman home run, the five-run lead was down to zero.

With Nola’s afternoon cut short, we got our first look at new reliever Gregory Soto. How did that go? As of this writing, Gregory Soto has still yet to record an out in a Phillies uniform.

Rob Thomson eventually called on his third pitcher of the inning in the form of Connor Brogdon. Brogdon eventually got out of the inning, but that had little to do with him since the third out came when Adolis Garcia attempted to stretch his single into a double.

With the way the Phillies’ batters were swinging, a comeback didn’t seem out of the question, and Bohm got one back with an RBI single in the fifth. Unfortunately, Brogdon wasn’t done adding fuel to the fire, and gave that run right back (along with one other) thanks to a home run by an old friend.

At that point, a comeback seemed a lot less likely.

This was a disappointing game to be sure. It’s always frustrating to lose on Opening Day, and especially so when you get out to a 5-0 lead. But it’s a long season, and chances are, the next time the Phillies or Nola have a five-run lead, they’ll hold onto it and secure the victory.

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