It was a tough trip to the Windy City as the Philadelphia Phillies drop 3 of the 4 games with the defending World Series Champs. The Phillies left the city at 11-9 and now come back at 12-15. The team went from sole possession of 2nd place to once again sharing with the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets, 6.5 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals. The Atlanta Braves are hanging in at 11-15.
Game One: Phillies 10, Chicago 2
On Monday, pitcher Vince Velasquez saw seven runs in his support over two innings thanks to a three-run home run by Tommy Joseph and a pair of doubles by Aaron Altherr after the Phils waited an hour and 25 minutes to start due to rain.
All seven of the Phillies first two innings runs came off of Chicago Cubs starter Brett Anderson (2-1) who went 1 1/3 innings.
The home run came at a big time for Joseph who had been struggling as of late managing just two hits in the previous five games.
“I still have adjustments to make,” Joseph said. “It obviously felt good for me to do that, but it’s more important for the team to get a win like that. [The Cubs are] the defending champions — their team is pretty good top to bottom.”
The Phillies added three more runs in the seventh thanks to home runs by Michael Saunders and Freddy Galvis. Joseph had three RBI’s in the game all coming with two outs. As a team, the Phil went 3-for-9 when batting with runners in scoring position.
On the mound, Velasquez allowed just one run on two hits in his five innings of work, a home run to Javier Baez. He allowed three walks but struck out four. Out of Velasquez’s 98 pitches, 63 were strikes.
Game Tw0: Chicago 8, Phillies 3
The Phils sent Jeremy Hellickson to the mound on Tuesday, and it wasn’t the result the team had wish as the righty earned his first loss of the season in his toughest game of the season.
“He was a little off,” manager Pete Mackanin said.
It was a tough fourth inning where Hellickson was one pitch away that opened the rally scoring for the Cubs to give Chicago the lead. Lester had a 1-2 count of Chicago pitcher Jon Lester when a Lester hit the two-out single, which was capped by a three-run home run by Left Fielder Kyle Schwarber.
“It’s as about as frustrating as it gets,” said Hellickson, who took his first loss of the season after being the first Phillies pitcher since Roy Halladay in 2010 to being a season with four straight wins. “Nobody on, two outs with the pitcher up, 1-2 count. It doesn’t get much more frustrating than that.”
Hellickson also gave up solo shots to Third Baseman Kris Bryant in the first inning and 2nd baseman Baez in the third.
Altherr got the Phillies started in the first inning with a one-out solo shot and Joseph doubled for the third time this season. The Phillies managed just three runs on four hits.
Game Three: Chicago 5, Phillies 4
The Phillies lead the entire way thanks to a hot first-inning start by the top of the line-up.
Daniel Nava was issued a one-out walk when Maikel Franco singled to right scoring Nava, who had stole second during Franco’s bat. Next up was Odubel Herrera who also singled right, this time scoring Franco.
The Cubs got one back in the second on a ground out by Chicago pitcher Jake Arrieta (4-1) to Phillies pitcher Jerad Eickhoff (0-3), allowing Jason Heyward to score. In the fourth, Freddy Galvis sent a sacrifice fly to Heyward in center allowing Franco to score his second run of the game.
Then in the bottom of the six, the demise of the Phillies emerged again, all with two outs.
First Baseman Anthony Rizzo scored on a two out single to left by Heyward followed by a two out double by Pinch Hitting Catcher Wilson Contreras that allowed both Outfielder Ben Zobrist and Heyward to score. On the next play Pinch Hitter Matt Szczur singled to short allowing Contreras to score.
The Phillies got one run in the eight on an RBI single to right by Franco to score Altherr. Andres Blanco struck out to start the ninth for the Phillies followed by a Galvis walk, but that’s as far as the shortstop would go as Andrew Knapp flew out to center and Joseph struck out to end the game.
On the mound, Eickhoff was throwing an okay game. He ended with five runs on four hits, walking two and striking out five in 5 2/3 innings of work. On the other side Arrieta allowed three runs on six hits in his six innings of work walking just one Phillies batter and striking out 11. As a whole, the Cubs pitching staff retired 11 Phillies batters on strikeouts.
Game Four: Cubs 5, Phillies 4 / 13 innings
The Cubs jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over the first two innings starting with a double by shortstop Addison Russell to score third baseman Bryant in the first while Szczur, who played the outfield on Thursday, doubled in the second to score centerfielder Albert Almora.
The Phillies responded by putting one run up in each of the next three frames.
In the third, Altherr singled to left to score Cesar Hernandez. In the fourth Franco hit a solo shot to center and then grounded out to third in the fifth to once again score Hernandez. The Cubs responded in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a sacrifice ply by catcher Miguel Montero to score left fielder Jon Jay.
In the eight, each team put up a run. Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp homered to center which lead commentator Ben Davis to yell “YES” very loudly. Montero followed with a homer to center of his own in the bottom of the eighth.
The game remained scoreless until Galvis overthrew Brock Stassi, the Phillies replacement first baseman, in the bottom of the 13th inning allowing Amora to score and end the game.
“Those kind of plays — you have a speedy guy at the plate, I just tried to make an out and made a bad throw,” Galvis said.
“It was a bad way to lose,” said Mackanin.
The Phillies had a chance in the 11th with the base loaded with one out but pitcher Mike Montogomery was able to get Blanco to pop up and Saunders to strike out. In the 12th, the Phillies turned a normal, 6-9-3 double play as Mackanin brought Ty Kelly into the infield from right field and it worked as Contreras hit into the double play.
The two teams went a combined 4-f0r-28 RISP while leaving 25 men on base.
Eflin was in line for the win after Rupp’s home run but instead earned a no decision. Over seven innings, he allowed just three runs on nine hits, walking none and striking out one. Cubs pitcher John Lackey also allowed three runs on nine hits in five innings of work, striking out seven. The Cubs bullpen struck out five more. As a team, the Cubs struck the Phillies out 40 times in the series, an astonishing number.
The Phillies head home for a five game homestand, the first three with the Nationals over the weekend and the next two with the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Game 1: The Phillies will send Nick Pivetta (0-1) to the mound against Steven Strasburg (2-1). Pivetta was drafted by the Nationals in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He has a 3.60 ERA this season. Strasburg comes in with a 3.09 ERA. Strasburg has 31 strikeouts in 35 innings of work this season.
Game 2: It will be Vince Velasquez (2-2) who will try to continue with his winning ways facing off with AJ Cole (0-0) who enters with a 0.00 ERA. Velasquz comes in at a 5.47 ERA in 26.1 innings of work. He also has 26 strikeouts this season. Cole will be making his season debut. Last season, he went 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA in 47 2/3 innings.
Game 3: Jeremy Hellickson (4-1) will look to get back on track against Tanner Roark (3-1) Hellickson’s ERA stands at 3.18 in 34 innings this season. Roark has a 4.04 ERA in 35.2 innings and 29 strikeouts.
In six games this season, the Phillies are 3-3 with the Nationals. This series will be key in gaining ground in the division.