In what has been a captivating display at the Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Phillies, riding high from their Game 1 victory (5-3), roared into a commanding 6-0 lead by the end of the sixth inning in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Fueling the Phillies' offense was none other than Kyle Schwarber, who stamped his authority with homers in both the third and sixth innings. Trea Turner too, contributed with an early blast in the first inning. It was particularly notable seeing Schwarber's commanding performance against Diamondbacks' ace, Merrill Kelly.
His explosive back-to-back at-bats were enough to send Kelly packing from the mound in the sixth.
Fans Question Phillies' Dominance
However, MLB aficionados appear divided over the Phillies' dominant showing. Users on X, the platform succeeding Twitter, were vocal about their suspicions, indicating an underlying feeling of distrust.
Comments ranged from accusations of the Phillies cheating to calls for drug tests. A user commented, "They are so obviously cheating," while another emphatically stated, "3 hits three homers at home - drug test all their players." The Diamondbacks, contrastingly, found their offense in a lull, struggling to make any significant marks on the scoreboard.
Merrill Kelly, despite his commendable efforts, was hit hard. He ended with a stat line of 5.2 innings pitched, yielding three hits and four earned runs. Meanwhile, Aaron Nola emerged as the Phillies' pitching star, putting up an impressive performance.
The Diamondbacks had no answer to Nola's mastery, who had seven strikeouts and allowed zero runs in his six-inning stint. It's worth reflecting on Schwarber's illustrious postseason journey. The two-time All-Star, who bagged a World Series ring in 2016 with the Chicago Cubs, has been a postseason mainstay.
Sporting a .232 batting average, Schwarber has accumulated 45 hits, 16 homers, 29 RBIs, and 33 runs in 59 career postseason appearances. Despite a slower start to the 2023 postseason with a .172 average, this game might just be the momentum-changer for the 30-year-old stalwart.