This was a bad one to say the least.
The Philadelphia Phillies lose the series to the Miami Marlins, but there’s more to that in a horrendous loss in Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies have fallen back to the .500 mark at 22-22. They lost two of three in the series and are 4-9 against the Marlins over the last two seasons with a four-gamer in Miami looming next week.
Here’s three takeaways:
Velasquez gets out of start with injury, pitching blows
Velasquez, who was scheduled to make his sixth start since replacing Matt Moore in the rotation, popped out of the dugout at 6:30 P.M. and headed out to field to begin loosening up for the 7:05 P.M. first pitch. At about 6:45 P.M., he walked off the field and disappeared down the dugout steps. Moments later, Hale began warming up and it was officially announced that Velasquez had been scratched with numbness in the index finger of his right hand.
This isn’t the first time that Velasquez has had an issue with numbness in one of the fingers on his pitching hand. On August 10, 2017, he lasted just one inning in a start against the New York Mets. After that 10-0 loss, Velasquez revealed that he’d experienced numbness in his right middle finger. He had a surgical procedure a month later and was done for the season.
Velasquez has spent time on the injured list in 2016, twice in 2017, 2018, and 2019. His latest health issue comes as he was beginning to show some consistency for the first time in his career. He carried a 2.84 ERA in five starts into the day.
It’s not clear how long Velasquez will be out, but the issue could open a spot for Howard to come up from Triple-A and join the rotation. The Phillies are watching Howard’s workload so he’s pitched just nine innings since the start of the Triple-A season. He has allowed just three hits and a run while walking five and striking out 13.
Howard’s workload will also be monitored closely in the majors. The right-hander, who will turn 25 in July, has pitched more than 100 innings just once in his pro career and he has a history of shoulder problems.
Back to the game, Middle reliever David Hale was pressed into service and did a creditable job holding the Miami Marlins to a run over three innings.
It was not a good night for two of the team’s offseason additions, either.
Moore allowed three hits, including the homer, and two runs in two innings. His ERA is up to 7.36.
Archie Bradley, the team’s big offseason bullpen addition, gave up three hits and three runs (one unearned) in 1 2/3 innings as his ERA skyrocketed to 7.20. Bradley’s fastball velocity has been a concern. The pitch averaged just 91.9 mph Thursday night.
Shorthanded and bad offense
The Phillies played shorthanded again Thursday night as catcher J.T. Realmuto missed his fourth straight game with a bone bruise at the base of his left hand. The Phils have held off placing him on the injured list because he’s improving but that has left manager Joe Girardi with a short bench all week.
The Phils used pitcher Zack Wheeler as a pinch-hitter in the third inning.
Jean Segura did not start the game because he was under the weather. He did enter as part of a double switch in the seventh inning. The Phillies were down, 6-0, at the time.
The Phillies struck out 15 times Thursday night to increase their National League lead to 449. They have reached double digits in strikeouts in 27 of their 44 games. One night after a 1-for-9 performance with runners in scoring position, the Phils went 0-for-4 in those situations. They did not get their third hit of the night until there were two outs in the eighth.
Defense was once again an issue for the Phillies.
Third baseman Alec Bohm made his fifth error of the season and it led to a run in the seventh. The ball seemed to be softly hit up the line, and Bohm let it skip past him.
Earlier in the game, Bryce Harper barely moved on a fly ball by Corey Dickerson that landed a couple of feet into foul territory off the right field line with no outs in the fourth. Harper appeared to indicate to teammates that he did not see the ball. Dickerson was glad that the ball dropped in. He ended up drawing a walk and scored when Garrett Cooper crushed a 421-foot, two-run homer to left off Matt Moore.
The 22-22 Phillies will start a new series this weekend against the American League East leaders, the 26-10 Boston Red Sox.