Less than 24 hours after Tuesday’s thrilling 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs (41-17), it was bad news for our Phillies (29-31) as they lost the rubber match 8-1 and, more importantly, saw starting pitcher Vince Velasquez leave the game after only two pitches with what the team has described as “right bicep soreness”.
Velasquez, acquired from the Houston Astros in the Ken Giles trade had emerged as a promising young arm in the Phillies’ rotation, sporting a 3.67 ERA while showcasing dominant stuff in performances such as his 16 strikeout game earlier this season.
After going through Tommy John surgery on his right arm in 2011, it’s hard to be optimistic about the diagnosis for Velasquez, who had a seen a decrease in velocity for a few starts before Wednesday afternoon. Catcher Cameron Rupp appeared to be one of the first to realize that something was amiss. He immediately looked to the bench after Velasquez’s first pitch on Wednesday was a fastball clocked at 86 mph, a far cry from the 97 mph he was hitting on the gun in April. Although Velasquez didn’t appear to be in any serious pain, one more fastball clocked at only 87 mph was enough to see his day come to an end.
The Phillies are yet to announce the full extent of Velasquez’s injury, but considering his history, it’s highly likely we won’t see him on the mound again this season. The Dodgers’ Yimi Garcia left a game with bicep soreness earlier this season, and was recently moved from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list, and he doesn’t have the injury history Velasquez has.
As for the game, reliever Brett Oberholtzer was effective entering the game in Velasquez’s absence, pitching four innings without giving up an earned run, but small miscues by the home team ended up snowballing into a blowout loss.
The Phillies put runners on first and third with nobody out in the first inning, but ended up squandering what would turn out to be their best opportunity of the game as Odubel Herrera was easily thrown out at home on a sac fly attempt off the bat of Freddy Galvis.
After a valiant relief effort by Oberholtzer, the Cubs opened scoring with an unearned run in the 5th on a botched double play ball, and it was all downhill from there. Andrew Bailey and Colton Murray combined to give up seven runs after Oberholtzer’s exit, and the only Phillies run came on a RBI groundout from Cesar Hernandez in the 9th inning.
The Phillies end the homestand a disappointing 3-7 and are dropping quickly in the NL East standings. Will keep this post updated as more information on Velasquez’s injury becomes available.
4:35 PM UPDATE
- 22-year old Zach Eflin was scratched from tonights start for AAA Lehigh Valley. Coincidence? Highly doubtful. Eflin is one of the top candidates to take Velasquez’s upcoming spots in the rotation.
- Manager Pete Mackanin didn’t provide much new info in his postgame presser. Mentioned that a bicep injury is generally more favorable than a shoulder or elbow injury, but that more info on Velasquez won’t be known until tomorrow. He said that an MRI is probable.