Phillies vs. Padres: Mike Clevinger, Bailey Falter make false MLB history with short start in Game 4

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Baseball history ensued Saturday night as the Padres and Phillies faced off in Game 4 of the NLCS. Questionable history, but still history. The frantic back-and-forth would culminate in a 10-6 victory over the Phillies, meaning they’re 3-1 in the seven-game series.

The first inning really set the tone for the wild night.

It started so innocently. Phillies starter Bailey Falter recorded an out in the first two hitters he faced. Then Manny Machado went deep to start scoring.

This is an omen. Here’s what happened next in this bureau:

  • Josh Bell followed, then Jake Cronenworth made a lap before Brandon Drury took them both home with a double. And just like that, 3-0 Padres, Falter was eliminated. He only played 2/3 of the innings and kept that in mind.
  • Ha Seong Kim greeted new starter Connor Brogdon with a single, bringing Drury home to a 4-0 Padres lead.
  • At the bottom of the first quarter, the Phillies wasted no time getting back into the game. Kyle Schwaber, who led the scoring with a home run in Game 3, singled out left field to get things started. Then Rhys Hoskins homered to halve San Diego’s lead.
  • JT Realmuto followed, then scored on Bryce Harper’s Rockets double.
  • Then Padres starter Mike Clevinger was removed. He didn’t even record a single game, meaning he pitched zero innings and had an unlimited ERA in the series.

Remember, Falter didn’t get out of the first game either. The pitcher became the 57th and 58th pitchers in history to start the playoffs without finishing the first inning (listed here via Stathead). They are the second duo to succeed in the same game. The other was Game 4 of the 1932 World Series, when Guy Bush of the Cubs lasted 1/3 of the inning and Johnny Allen of the Yankees won 2/3 of the inning. So Saturday’s NLCS Game 4 marks the first time in MLB playoff history that two starters have less than three games combined.

The first inning had two doubles, two home runs, two pitching changes, and seven runs in 48 minutes. After the Padres’ loss, Clevinger called Saturday “probably one of the worst days of his life.”

The Phillies didn’t take the lead until the second half of the fifth inning. The slugfest totaled 16 of 19 hits, including six home runs.

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