Velasquez shines, Realmuto homers as the Phillies beat the Brewers 4-3
There has been no Phillies starter outside of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin to record an out in the sixth inning of a ball game this season. That changed last night thanks to none other than Vincent Velasquez. Vinny threw six strong innings last night, allowing only earned run on four hits while walking two and striking out six. The Phillies won the first of a four game series against the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3.
Velasquez made his case to remain a part of the Phillies’ rotation. After opening up the season with Matt Moore and Chase Anderson earning the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation, Velasquez was sent to the bullpen to be a long-inning reliever for the Phillies. Chase Anderson has a 5.40 ERA through five starts. Moore had a 9.82 ERA before landing on the COVID-19 injured list.
After last night, Velasquez improved to 1-0 on the season with a 4.91 ERA in six appearances and 18.1 innings pitched. Outside of his first start in which he fell apart against the Mets, Vinny has been solid for the Phillies, especially over his last three starts in Moore’s absence.
Velasquez received some help in the bottom of the first inning from JT Realmuto, who hit a two-run home run to the upper deck in left field, giving Vinny and the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
Vinny would settle in over the next five innings and receive additional run support in the second inning thanks to a surprising triple from Roman Quinn that scored Odubel Herrera and a ground out from himself to score Quinn. He would leave the game with a 4-2 lead but of course, the Phillies bullpen, after another stellar performance from Sam Coonrod, would make it interesting.
Before we get to Brogdon’s battle with Mother Nature and Hector Neris’s five out save, let’s take a moment to appreciate Sam Coonrod. The free agent pickup by the Phillies last offseason is one of the most underrated success stories to start the 2021 season. Coonrod’s ERA is now down to 1.38 and his WHIP is down to .0675. He has 17 strike outs in 13.1 innings of work. The Phillies desperately needed a workhorse to emerge from the bullpen (and possibly a new closer) and Coonrod continues to pitch extremely well for the Phillies. Last night, he pitched one inning, allowing zero hits, zero walks, while striking out three.
Connor Brogdon entered the game in the eighth inning and ran into some trouble, but it’s hard to blame the young Phillies reliever due to the fact that Mother Nature decided to send a hurricane to South Philly while Brogdon was on the mound. The game continued on and it was clear that Brogdon was struggling to keep his hand and the ball dry. He walked two, allowed a hit, and let up two runs in just 0.1 innings of work before Girardi decided to send Hector Neris to the mound to record a five-out save for the Phillies in a 4-3 ballgame.
Neris, as he always does, made things interesting for the Phillies. He threw 40 pitches and allowed two hits and a walk, while striking out three. Neris had the bases loaded with two outs before striking out Lorenzo Cain on a check swing to earn the save.
Final score: 4-3 Phillies.
Up Next: The Phillies inched closer back to .500 and are now 14-15 on the season, a half game behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East. Aaron Nola (2-1, 3.11 ERA) will be on the mound tonight to face Brewers’ pitcher Eric Lauer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) in game two of their four game series.