For the second straight game, our Philadelphia Phillies (30-36) were thoroughly outplayed by the Toronto Blue Jays (37-31), this time in a 7-2 loss at Citizens Bank Park.
Jeremy Hellickson got the start for the home team, and despite showing effectiveness at times, a costly 4th inning doomed him and the Phillies to yet another loss.
After a scoreless first inning, Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion hit a massive home run off the second deck scoreboard to lead off the 2nd which made it 1-0 Jays. The Phillies’ Cody Asche answered in the bottom half with a moon shot of his own into the second deck in the bottom half (his 2nd HR of the season), and for a while it looked like we might see a competitive game.
As has been the case far too often this season though, walks came back to doom Hellickson and the Phils in the 4th. He walked the first two batters to leadoff the inning, then a double steal and a sac fly from Russell Martin gave Toronto the lead without even scoring a hit in in the frame. A single and a double later, and just like that the tie game turned into a 4-1 deficit.
Asche answered again with an RBI double in the bottom of the 4th, but as we’ve seen over and over again, two runs is rarely going to cut it against most MLB teams. The offense managed only one single through the next three innings against Jays’ starter and winning pitcher Marco Estrada, and any hope of a comeback was dashed in the 8th as Hector Neris continued his recent slump. Josh Donaldson greeted Neris with a solo bomb to leadoff the inning, and a walk, hit batter and single gave two more runs to Toronto to make the score 7-2. The Phils would go quietly the rest of the way and that score would hold as the final.
- After giving up 14 runs in 17 innings over his last three starts, Hellickson’s ERA has balooned from a solid 3.68, to a concerning 4.46. He gave up three walks for the third straight game, after giving up only 14 walks total through his first 11 starts.
- The Phillies went 0-6 with RISP on Wednesday night. Asche added a second double in the 9th to finish with three extra base hits. The rest of the team managed only three total hits, all of them singles.
- The Phillies fell to a season worst six games under .500, and 11 games behind the Washington Nationals for the division lead. On the plus side, still 11 games up on the Atlanta Braves!
An interesting pitching matchup concludes the home-and-home series on Thursday night. Aaron Nola (5-5, 2.98 ERA) looks to rebound from his worst start of the season for the home team. He’ll be opposed by former Phil and Toronto’s team leader in wins, J.A. Happ (7-3, 3.70). Happ tossed five scoreless innings against his former team on his last visit to Citizens Bank Park in a 3-0 win with Toronto in 2014. Thursday’s first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.