Well, it wasn’t the best weekend for the Phillies as they hosted the Milwaukee Brewers for 90s Weekend. The Brew Crew demolished the Phillies on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday before the Phillies could squeak out a victory Sunday afternoon.
Matty D and I talked about it on the pod, but Friday saw the return of the very-hittable Vince Velasquez. Vinny had himself a nice month of May so it isn’t too surprising that we’d see him regress a bit against one of the best teams in the NL. There isn’t too much else that needs to be discussed from that night. The Phils looked horrible all-around.
Saturday’s game saw a lot of positive signs early for the Phils. Jake Arrieta started shakily but quickly composed himself through five solid innings of work. Rhys Hoskins returned from the DL to hit a BOMB and the Phils found themselves leading 3-2 going into the sixth inning. After getting the first out of the inning, Arrieta quickly found a runner on first base after the seemingly billionth catcher’s interference by a Phillies catcher this season. Jake quickly lost the ability to find the plate walking the next batter, hitting the following one, and Arrieta was pulled with the bases loaded and a one-run lead. Luis Garcia struck out the first batter he saw but then allowed a pinch-hit grand slam from Ji Man Choi. The Brew Crew went up 6-3 and teed off of the Phils bullpen from there with the final score settling at 12-3 Milwaukee.
Sunday finally saw the opposition beat themselves for a change. Zach Eflin mowed through the Milwaukee batting order striking out nine over six innings and allowing only two runs. The Brewers would strike out a total of 14 times and commit two errors which the Phillies capitalized on. Go figure! Seranthony Dominguez pitched the seventh and eighth innings. Dominguez dominated the Brewers in the seventh but allowed a run in the eighth as the Brew Crew managed to use speed and bloop base-hits to score. Luis Garcia started the ninth, allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to reach 2nd and 3rd, and Tommy Hunter had to finish the game. Phillies avoided the sweep with a 4-3 win.
What’s been so frustrating has been the Phillies’ recent emergence as a Jekyll and Hyde team. One inning, they’re playing solid baseball and the next, they look like Little Leaguers trying to hit a 100 MPH fastball. For those who remember my Flyers coverage from this season, I was really not about those guys pulling this kind of stuff. With the Phillies looking so sharp until about two weeks ago, I cannot accept this one bit. The bullpen is starting to revert (what the hell happened to Garcia this weekend?), the bats go dead at the drop of a dime, and the starters fade because of it all.
The good news, however, is that the Phillies have rebounded from poor play this season before and there is absolutely no reason why they can’t now. The team is three games back of both the division lead and the second wild card–Washington and Atlanta are tied for the NL East lead and are a half-game ahead of St. Louis for the second wild card, the Phillies sit as the next team out. This team is still very young so there a lot of growing pains to work out but there is a lot of time left in the season to do so.
The Phillies open up a three-game set with the Colorado Rockies tonight at Citizens Bank with Aaron Nola (7-1) taking on Jon Gray (5-5). The Rockies have been ice-cold coming to Philadelphia going 2-8 over their last 10 games and most recently getting swept at home against the Diamondbacks. Colorado’s offense ranks around the middle of the pack for most stats (13th in runs scored), however, their pitching ranks towards the bottom in most stats (26th in both ERA and opponent’s batting average). If there was a time for the Phils’ bats to find their livelihood, this is the series to do so.Follow @geordo9