- The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-4 on Tuesday night with a three-run walk-off home run in the 16th inning.
- The difference in the game came down largely to bullpen management, with the Dodgers making the perplexing decision to put a position player on the mound with the score still tied in the 16th.
- With both teams holding on to slim leads in their divisions, this could very easily be a game either side looks back on in a tight race for the postseason.
It took 16 innings, but the Philadelphia Phillies walked away with a win on Tuesday night (technically early Wednesday morning) thanks to a walk-off home run from Trevor Plouffe.
The victory, which took five hours and 55 minutes to complete, came because the Phillies’ bullpen was able to outlast the Dodgers’. When the 16th inning came around, Los Angeles called on utility man Kiké Hernandez, who had already moved from second base to the outfield, to the mound, and the Phillies were able to take advantage.
With two runners on, Trevor Plouffe came to the plate and smacked a three-run home run to send the fans who remained at Citizens Bank Park home happy with a 7-4 victory.
This game seemed to be never-ending …
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 25, 2018
The move by the Dodgers was somewhat perplexing. Starter Rich Hill had already been warmed up in the bullpen, but manager Dave Roberts explained after the game that he only planned on using him in a save situation.
For the Phillies, the win came as a true team effort, with 22 of their 25 roster players entering the game to contribute to the win. Philadelphia also didn’t shy away from bringing a starter into the late innings – after Phillies relievers went a whopping 10 innings giving up just one run against one of the most fearsome lineups in the NL, Vince Velasquez came in to pitch the 16th on two days rest and earn the win.
After the game, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler described his team’s decision to keep pushing for the win as the game dragged on.
“We felt like that game was worth going all-in for,” Kapler said. “Every game is, but certainly when you come back like we did, you reward your guys by fighting with them by saying, ‘This game means everything to us.’ So, that’s how we approached it.”
Hearing Kapler discuss the game, it’s clear that the Phillies simply wanted it more. By deciding to use a starter in relief, Kapler invested in the win and was rewarded for his efforts, while the Dodgers opted to go with an outfielder on the mound.
Both teams currently sit atop their respective divisions in the National League by slim margins, and should their playoff races come down to a single game, this very well could be the one that both look back on as the difference-maker.
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