Phillies offense remains cold, Bullpen struggles as the Rockies steal one 5-4
Making his first start of the season, Vincent Velasquez did exactly what was expect of him last night in Denver against the Rockies. Unfortunately for the Phillies, it wasn’t enough and they suffered a walk-off loss during Friday’s series opener, 5-4.
Vinny Velo cruised through the first three innings despite the leadoff man reaching base in both the first and second inning. Those two runners came on a Gregorius error and a walk, but Vinny didn’t allow them to do any damage. Velasquez escaped both frames unscathed and the Rockies when just 1-for-10 with three strikeouts during the first three innings.
Entering the fourth inning, Velasquez was able to keep his pitch count down thanks to a 10-pitch third inning. Vinny Velo did run into some trouble in the fourth, as he often does, and let up a leadoff home run to Trevor Story, a player who hasn’t hit one out of the ball park in 29 straight games dating back to last season. C.J. Cron followed up two batters later with another solo shot and the game was tied 2-2. Velasquez ended the night with four innings pitched, five hits, and one walk, while allowing two earned runs.
Cutch hit a sac fly to score Roman Quinn, who surprisingly enough had a double, in the seventh, to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. It was followed by Rhys Hoskins, who absolutely destroyed a home run to deep left center field to give the Phillies an insurance run and a 4-2 lead heading into the eighth innings.
Unfortunately the lead wasn’t enough, and the bullpen blew a lead for the third straight game. After posting an ERA of 7.06 (second worst of all-time), the Phillies bullpen pitched pretty well to start the season but has really struggled as of late. They are without their top two arms in Archie Bradley and Jose Alvarado, but now hold a 10.13 ERA over the last three games, allowing 13 runs (12 earned) off five home runs in just 10 2/3 innings.
Last night, they allowed one run in each the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, capped by Raimel Tapia’s walk-off homer off Hector Neris to give the Rockies a 5-4 victory.
The bullpen sucked, no one is arguing that, but the Phillies bats need to capitalize when given the opportunities. Last night, the team was 0-10 with runners in scoring position. They are just 3-for-39 (.077) with 12 strikeouts with RISP over the last six games.
Before Rhys Hoskins’ home run, they scored on two groundouts and a sacrifice fly. With a lineup that features Hoskins, Harper, Realmuto, and Bohm, the Phillies need to be better at the plate. I’m not ready to push the panic button on the offense quite yet, but it’s definitely something that needs to find consistency if the Phillies want to win close games and help bail their bullpen out of tough situations.
Maton Watch: There’s absolutely no denying that Nick Maton has been the most exciting piece of the Phillies this season. Last night he remained red hot and went 2-for-4 from the plate. Social media is already calling him “The Next Chase Utley”. He’s slashing .438/.438/1.000 with seven hits in 16 at-bats, with one RBI on the season.
Up Next: Aaron Nola (1-1, 2.19 ERA) will face Colorado RHP Antonio Senzatela (1-3, 5.40) tonight at 8:10pm looking to right the ship for the Phillies and force a series rubber match tomorrow afternoon.