The Philadelphia Phillies looked to end a two game losing streak, and an eight series winless streak (a two game split with Boston) going back to a sweep of the team they face this week, the Miami Marlins, to start the month of August.
As you can tell by my altered post title, your Phaillies came up small at yet another bad time, continuing the obligatory one game a series thing, while the team they were chasing was swept.
Game 1: Tropical Tedium
Not a whole lot to say about a game where the Phillies managed only 4H, and just one run on an Asdrubal Cabrera HR (22). Especially when that meager output came against three pitchers with a 4+ ERA.
Vince Velasquez (9-10, 4.10 ERA) did his part in 5In, giving up just 3R – all earned – on 5H, 6K, 1BB. Even though his pitch count had reached just 73 – 53 for strikes, he was due up first in the 6th, so Manager Gabe Kapler, with extra arms in the pen, felt like he needed to get as much offense into the game as he could.
Five Phils BP guys kept the Marlins scoreless to give them a chance, but it was all for naught as the offense managed just two more hits, not in the same inning, the rest of the way.
Marlins RHP Jose Urena, he of the lusty 4.56 ERA and and even gaudier 5-11 record, scattered 4H in 7In to get the W. He struck out a career high seven batters, while walking none. You know there is a problem with this offense if they cannot even work a BB.
RHP Drew Steckenrider struck out two in the 9th to earn his third S of the season.
Game Two:Big Bounce Back
The tone was set early as Carlos Santana launched the fourth pitch of the game deep into the RF seats, for his 21st HR.
A H, BB, HBP and two outs later Cesar Hernandez cleared the bases with a 3B (3).
They had 4R in the last 31 innings before this outburst. Six batters reached base in the first inning. Only four reached base all game the night before.
The Phils loaded the bases again in the 2nd inning sending RHP Trevor Richards (3-8, 4.73) to the showers.
Cabrera met RHP reliever Nick Wittgren with a 2R 2B (33) on a 2-2 count. That set Richards line at 1.1In, 4H, 6R – all earned – 2K, 4BB, 1HR.
For a refreshing change the Phillies kept on scoring. A Cabrera solo shot (23) in the 4th and a GO RBI by Santana in the 5th stretched the lead to seven.
Meanwhile Jake Arrieta (10-9, 3.61) staked to a big lead was pitching much better than his last two outings. He did give up two HRs to C. J. T. Realmuto (19,20) one right after they scored the four runs, the other in the 8th. He also gave up two more in the fifth.
It was a serviceable 7.1 for Jake , 7H, 4R – all earned – 11K, 2BB, 2HR, 95P – 67 for strikes. The 11 Ks was a season high, two short of his career best of 13.
A bases loaded HBP of Rhys Hoskins in the 9th made the final 9-4.
Every Phillies starter reached base via a H or a BB, even Arrieta got a free pass. Last night the Phillies could not get a walk. This game they worked ten of them, matching their season high, which they have done three times.
The team was able to watch the Boston Red Sox overcome a 6 run deficit in the 8th to tie the game against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. They would win it in the 9th, after falling behind again by a run. One would think this would motivate them knowing they could get to two games behind.
But one would be wrong.
Like the first game, they could only muster up one run.
Unlike the first game, they did have quite a few men in scoring position, but went 1-7, with RISP, and 8 LOB. That one hit did not come until the 8th inning.
The inning started in typical Phaillies fashion when after Quinn worked a BB, Santana hit a line drive into a DP. They overcame that though, on a Jose Bautista 2B (15), and a Cabrera single, for their lone run of the night.
They left their last man in scoring position, as well as their last man – two actually – on, striking out twice to end the inning, off of Marlins closer Steckenrider (S4), his second this series.
Through seven innings of 3H, 0R, 6K, 2BB ball, Rookie RHP Sandy Alcantara (2-0, 0.75) had the Phils hitters off balance all night on a mix of 95-97 MPH FBs and a spot on sinker at the same speed. This kid may be the real deal, as he faced some proven MLB hitters the Phillies have added, and did not seem fazed in the least.
Nick Pivetta (7-11, 4.66) also pitched well for the short time he was in the game. He ran into some trouble in the first inning, as a lead-off BB, a single and a GO gave the Marlins the early 1-0 lead. It could have been worse but Santana, getting a start at 3B, made a diving stop and then a force out at 2nd, while that first run scored.
A HBP to start the 4th got Nick in trouble again. A ball up the middle he tried to snag, which he should have let go, made it 1st and 2nd, no outs. A FO and a single later by LF Austin Dean, who drove in the first run as well, it was 2-0 Miami. Pivetta would get out of the inning with no further damage.
Much like game one, the lack of offense had Kapler pulling Pivetta after 4 In, when Jorge Alfaro led off the top of the 5th with a single. Once again it was flustratingly fruitless as PH Odubel Herrera hit into a DP on the first pitch.
Pivetta’s final line of 3H, 2R – both earned, 4K, 2BB, 0HR, 69P – 45 for strikes, was good but not great.
Mirroring the opener once more, the bullpen shut the Marlins down, giving the team a chance to come back, but it was not to be.
Hey, I have not changed the title of this post for nothing.
Even though they have not been scoring much, a few hitters quietly have some streaks going.
Alfaro extended his hitting streak to nine games, and Santana to eight. Carlos also has reached base in 11 straight.
Quinn ended a hit safely in 11 straight starts, but did walk, and was HBP.
As I have done so often this season, I have to remind myself, and the phans that this is still the youngest team in baseball. Many of them have not played a full or two full seasons in MLB. It really looks like, more games than not lately, that they are running out of gas. Also most picked this team to barely be around .500. so it would seem that they are a year ahead of schedule. Whatever happens these next 21 games, we need to enjoy what they have given us this season. I believe the playoffs, if not this season, are just around the corner for the Phillies.
After an off day on Thursday – nice of the schedule makers to allow them and us to watch some other sporting event happening on Pattison Avenue – the Phillies head back north to visit the New York Mets (63-76, 4th Place NL East). It is not going to be easy, as they face the Mets two best pitchers to end the series. The Phils are 5- 8 against the Metropolitans, and 2-4 in Queens this season.
Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Mets
Friday, September 7, 7:10 PM ET , Citi Field
Steven Matz, LHP
Saturday, September 8, 7:10 PM ET , Citi Field