The Phillies fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 in 14 innings Monday night. Jake Arrieta pitched eight shutout innings while only allowing three hits. For the second-straight game, Seranthony Dominguez blew a save opportunity and allowed a home run. The Phillies offense only managed to put up the two runs on seven hits while batting 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
So we have a few things to unpack here. First of all, Jake Arrieta once again has been lights out and just barely missed out on his fifth-straight win. A lot of people were concerned with how Arrieta had been pitching through June when he 0-4 with an ERA of 6.66 and a WHIP of 1.56 in 5 starts moving his overall ERA from 2.16 to 3.54.
Another solid start has brought Arrieta’s ERA to 3.11 for the season. Just like with Aaron Nola’s start against the Red Sox last week, the Phillies didn’t pick up their starter with enough run support to convert a solid outing into a win. Monday night was more on the bullpen than bad defense, though. Seranthony once again allowed a homer but unlike Sunday, he still had a one-run lead to work with. Dominguez couldn’t shake the homer off to lock down the D-Backs and Arizona quickly tied the game in the ninth. The newly-acquired Eduardo Escober doubled by blooping a ball into no man’s land in left field, shallow enough that Nick Williams couldn’t track it down but deep enough that the infield couldn’t snag it. Steven Souza timed a Dominguez fastball right up the middle to tie the ballgame and Dominguez left the game with his third blown save of the season.
While incredibly frustrating, it begs the question of what’s happening to the fan-favorite. The good news is we saw a similar pattern in June: Dominguez gets a large workload within a week and at the end of that week, he allows runs at the wrong time. We need to remember this guy is only 23 years old, down periods are going to happen from time to time. It just stinks that this down-appearance happened when Arrieta spun an absolute gem. Shoutout to Tommy Hunter for throwing two shutout innings and more importantly, for stepping up when he allowed himself to get into trouble. In both innings, Hunter allowed a runner to get to third base and he got out of trouble both times. We’re not out of “hold your breath after Tommy Hunter every pitch” status just yet, however.
The Phils’ offense struggled to make something happen last night, especially in extras where they didn’t record a hit. The most frustrating came in the top of the 9th inning where Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco sat at third and first, respectively, with zero out and the Phillies couldn’t capitalize. That second heart of the order was responsible for the Phillies’ two runs in the seventh inning so to see Alfaro and Kingery make the Phils go down quietly was frustrating in the moment, and gut-wrenching knowing it likely would’ve been the difference maker. The top of the order didn’t contribute much, if anything, batting 2 for 21 with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts.
The series continues tonight as Nick Pivetta (6-9) takes on Zach Greinke (12-6). Pivetta will need to look like the version we saw in April and May if he wants to go toe-to-toe with Greinke and the Phillies’ bats will need to hit early and often. First pitch is at 9:40 ET.Follow @geordo9