November 3rd, 2022
PHILADELPHIA — Moments after the Phillies found themselves on the wrong side of World Series history, Rob Thomson stepped into the clubhouse late Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park. He had something to say.
He did not give a speech. He gave a reminder.
“Hey, the last time we got no-hit, we ended up coming back and winning the next day,” Thomson said.
“Short and sweet,” Kyle Schwarber said.
The Phillies will take that perspective into Game 5 of the World Series on Thursday night. The Astros threw a combined no-hitter Wednesday night in a 5-0 victory in Game 4 to even the best-of-seven Series at 2-2. It was the second no-hitter in World Series history, and just the third no-hitter in postseason history.
“It’s a race to two,” Schwarber said.
Rob Thomson on Game 4 loss
It was a shock to the sellout crowd to watch Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly strike out 14 and walk three in this historic no-hitter. The Phillies were 6-0 at home this postseason, steamrolling their opponents in almost every game. They tied a World Series record with five home runs in a Game 3 victory on Tuesday. But the Phillies were not wallowing in their no-hit misery Wednesday. Music played softly in the clubhouse. Players milled about. They seemed to be taking their cues from Thomson and the veterans who have suffered bad losses before.
Pressly completes combined no-no
Of course, nobody had ever lost a game like this.
But these Phillies look at things differently. They have bounced back from adversity all season. How else does an 87-win team make the postseason and get to the World Series?
“You just chalk it up to a loss,” Schwarber said. “I mean, you guys can write about all the fun stuff, but it’s a loss for us and we’ve got to move on to tomorrow.”
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Somebody asked Schwarber how it felt to be only the second team no-hit in World Series history.
“I really don’t give a [expletive],” he said. “We’ll move on to tomorrow. It’s cool. We’ll be in the history books, I guess.”
So it won’t be any more difficult to bounce back from this?
“Absolutely not,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun coming in tomorrow.”
“It’s different for you guys and the fans, but for us, we want to be as consistent as possible,” Nick Castellanos said. “So keep it the exact same as the regular season. If we did a great job of doing it in the regular season, why change it up and do anything different in the World Series?”
The Mets threw a combined no-hitter against the Phillies on April 29 at Citi Field in New York. Afterward, the Phillies said the same thing: Forget about it. Have a nice dinner. Get some sleep. Show up to the ballpark the next day and prepare like always.
The Phillies beat the Mets the next night, 4-1.
“We’ve done it before,” Bryce Harper said. “I think we’ve done it all year.”
The Phillies had a couple of close calls Wednesday. Schwarber ripped a ball just foul down the first-base line in the third inning.
“I thought it was fair, but it’s close,” Schwarber said. “I guess I’m biased, right?”
Schwarber narrowly misses a hit
Jean Segura ripped a line drive to Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker in the eighth. The ball had an expected batting average of .910.
Otherwise, Javier and the Astros’ bullpen smothered the Phillies. They struck out nine of 13 batters in one stretch from the fourth through the eighth innings. Javier struck out nine in six innings.
“His fastball has a lot of ride to it,” Castellanos said. “It’s one of those pitches that it’s almost like you have to cheat to, to square it up. And if you’re cheating to his fastball, look what happened in my first at-bat [strikeout on three sliders]. I was way out front of his offspeed stuff.”
Cristian Javier’s dominant outing
Castellanos said he sensed no panic in the dugout as the Phillies neared the end of the game.
“We just wanted baserunners to try to get something going,” he said. “It’s not like we were actively hanging on trying not to be no-hit. We were still trying to win the game. We would have been happy if we would have walked and gotten hit-by-pitches and scored runs and won a game and didn’t get a hit. All of our focus and attention was on the right thing, which was moving the line and doing whatever we could to get something going.”
Now the Phillies will need to bounce back against an expected Hall of Famer in Justin Verlander. They got him in Game 1, but Verlander will be looking to bounce back, too.
Something’s got to give.
“We’ve had good approaches throughout the postseason,” Schwarber said. “We’re going to formulate a game plan, and we’re going to have to execute it.”
And they’re going to have to forget what happened Wednesday.
No problem, they said.
“That’s the plan,” Castellanos said. “Thomper did a good job of doing that as soon as the game was over, coming in and just saying what he said.”