The Phillies welcomed the Baltimore Orioles — who by the way are 55-games-under-.500 and have league leading 102 losses — into Philadelphia for a crucial three game series. But, let’s remind ourselves, this is the 2021 Philadelphia Phillies we’re talking about.
So of course, this didn’t go as advertised.
A superior team on paper and in the standings, the Phillies, with lots to play for, suffered one of their most damaging losses of the season Monday night when they were beaten, 2-0, by an Orioles team playing for nothing but the first pick in next year’s draft.
The Phillies (76-74) were held to four hits, all singles, by an Orioles club that is now 48-102.
The loss was the Phillies’ second in a row and had them in danger of falling three games off the pace in the NL East with 12 games remaining in the season. The first-place Atlanta Braves were playing a late game in Arizona against a Diamondbacks team that has the worst record in the NL. The Braves will have 14 games remaining after Monday night. If they win Monday night’s game and simply play .500 ball over their final 14 games, the Phillies would need to go 9-3 over their final 12 to tie.
Baltimore’s ace lefty John Means, who pitched a no-hitter against Seattle in May, held the Phillies to just four hits over 6 2/3 shutout innings. He walked one and struck out six. The Phils have struggled hard against lefty’s this season, and this is another game that shows it.
The Phillies sent their own lefty, Ranger Suarez, to the mound and he pitched six innings of two-run ball, certainly good enough to put his team in position to win. But, of course not with this offense.
Suarez had command issues early in the game and allowed four singles and two runs in the first inning. He settled down nicely and did not allow a run the rest of his stay, but the bats couldn’t overcome the early deficit.
The Phils had just one hit through the first five innings. Bryce Harper, who has carried the team in recent weeks and become one of the favorites for the NL MVP award, went hitless for the second straight game. He hasn’t gone hitless in two straight games for the first time since August 18-19.
Harper led off the bottom of the ninth and hit a skyrocket to the wall in dead center. It ended up in Cedric Mullins’ glove, 400 feet from home plate.
It just described how the night went for the Phils.