February 7, 2023

Phillies lack offense as they lose three-game series at home

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Once again, the Phillies decided to leave their bats at home. In three games, the Phillies scored just seven runs. The Phightins left a lot of runners on base, and they were not able to use their power to their advantage.

Game summaries

On Friday, the first game of this three-game series, the Phillies were able to come back in the eighth inning to pave their path to victory.

Ranger Suarez, the only southpaw in the Phillies’ rotation, was on the bump. He allowed one run in 4.2 innings. Suarez struck out four and walked three on 89 pitches. His command was a minor issue, but he was able to record outs in the air and on the ground. This is always effective for Suarez considering he does not have an overpowering fastball.

Bryce Harper doubled in Jean Segura in the first inning, but the Phillies’ bats were silent until the eighth.

The Phillies’ pitching staff was able to hold the Brewers to just two runs on five hits. Seranthony Dominguez threw 1.1-perfect innings. Jose Alvarado made it through the sixth, but he allowed a sac fly which gave the Brewers the lead. Nick Nelson, the game’s winner, threw a scoreless inning in the seventh.

Johan Camargo hit an RBI single which added an insurance run going into the ninth.

Freddy Peralta was the starter for Milwaukee. He went five innings, and he allowed just one run to cross the plate. Aaron Ashby came in after Peralta and allowed five hits and three runs over just 2.1 innings.

With the Phillis down just one run, Alec Bohm took a 2-2 fastball to the opposite field for a two-run single. This put the Phillies up by one, and it further proved why Alec Bohm should be an everyday player.

In the ninth inning, Corey Knebel came into the game to get the save. He pitched a quick ninth inning to lock up the win in game one.

Game two had a very similar storyline, but it did not end in the Phillies’ favor. The Phillies ended up on the losing side after the Brewers came back despite a three-run deficit.

The Phillies had a three-run lead going into the fifth thanks to RBIs from Jean Segura and Nick Castellanos, but Zack Wheeler lost his stamina. With runners on the corner and one out, Jace Peterson hit an RBI single to put the Brewers on the board. Following a lineout, another RBI single put the Brewers within one. Joe Girardi went out to the mound but did not pull Wheeler from the game. With Christian Yelich up to bat, Wheeler missed his spot and left a fastball belt-high. Yelich pulled it into left field, and the game became tied.

An inning later, Hunter Renfroe took Christopher Sanchez deep to give the Brewers a two-run lead.

The Phillies could not get any offense going against Devin Williams and Josh Hader, so the Brewers were able to even up the series.

Sunday was uneventful. There is no better way to put it. Aaron Nola and Eric Lauer faced off for the Sunday Night Baseball matchup.

Both starters dominated. Nola went seven innings and struck out nine batters. He allowed just two baserunners. He used all of his pitches and was able to record swings and misses with his sinker, changeup, and of course, his famous curveball.

The Phillies were flat on offense. Eric Lauer pitched six shutout innings. The Brewers bullpen followed in his footsteps as the Phils were hitless against the Brewers’ bullpen. The Phillies struck out a disheartening 16 times.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Phillies had the bases loaded with nobody out. Unfortunately, an ideal situation for the offense to produce did not turn out to be ideal. Jean Segura popped out in foul territory, and Rhys Hoskins struck out swinging.

A sac-fly in the ninth inning off of Phillies’ closer Corey Knebel gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead. In the other half of the ninth, Kyle Schwarber struck out for the second out. He chirped to Angel Hernandez, the umpire behind home plate, and he was ejected immediately.

Ultimately, the Phillies fell in the rubber match as Josh Hader and the Brewers held onto their lead.

A good start for Wheeler

On paper, Wheeler’s start in game one was nowhere near a “good” start. But based on his first two starts of 2022, there were some very good signs.

While his fastball velocity was not at midseason form, it was consistent. After seeing his fastball in his last outing, consistency in his velocity was the biggest concern for Wheeler. Now, the goal is for him to continue to build up stamina in hopes that he can make it through the third time in the order.

Before things blew up for Wheeler in the fifth, he recorded ten straight outs and had complete control of his pitches. Specifically, he used sinker as a pitch to get ahead in counts, but he also placed it inside on righties with two strikes.

Wheeler did not mix his curveball into his pitch mix until there was an out in the third inning. In the fifth inning, he allowed two straight hits off the curveball, so he abandoned the pitch for the rest of his outing. This left him with just his fastball, sinker, and slider. Wheeler having just three pitches in his arsenal during a jam surely did not help him get out of it.

The return of the cream uniforms

The Phillies finally received their cream-colored jerseys [!] that they wear on weekend day games. The jerseys had not yet arrived at Citizens Bank Park to begin the season, but they were able to debut these uniforms on Saturday’s game which began at 4:05. In 2021, the Phillies wore their throwback powder blue jerseys every Thursday, but they did not arrive for Opening Day either. It is unknown right now if the throwback uniforms arrived with the cream uniforms, but we should find out Thursday.

Is defense a more serious problem than some speculate?

This past series was no walk in the park defensively. J.T. Realmuto made a throwing error on Friday, Jean Segura had a ball tip-off of the webbing in his glove, and Kyle Schwarber nearly failed to reach the plate as he attempted to throw out a runner at home in the fifth inning of Saturday’s contest.

In sixteen games so far, the Phillies have eight errors. This isn’t the worst in baseball, but they are towards the top.

Alec Bohm is always a liability at third base, Kyle Schwarber is slow with a weak arm, and Nick Castellanos struggles reading fly balls.

On the flip side, Odubel Herrera returning from the IL should provide some depth defensively. Herrera has been with the Phillies since 2015, and he was the Phils’ lone all-star in 2016. H e has a career .988 fielding percentage in centerfield which is .003 higher than the league average in 2021. Many fans remember Herrera robbing Freddie Freeman of a home run at Citizens Bank Park a few years back. In his career, Odubel averages four defensive runs saved per year on average.

Herrera came into Sunday’s game in the bottom of the seventh to pinch-hit for Matt Vierling, and he stayed in the game to play centerfield. On just the second pitch with Odubel in the field, he laid out to record the first out of the eighth inning.

The Phillies will host the Rockies Monday.

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