December 3, 2023

Phillies’ skid continues in crushing sweep vs Kapler’s Giants


Mark Rebilas/USA TODAY

Soaring high off an 18-2 win in the final game of three in Arizona, there was a thought that the Phillies would build off the victory in their upcoming series with San Francisco. But after a sloppy loss in game one on national television, that thought quickly became a fantasy.

The Phillies have now won just one of their last seven games, and they have made different mistakes both offensively and defensively in each of their losses.

So simply put, the Phillies have played very bad baseball over this past week. And from where we are now, there are zero signs of any improvement.

Game summaries

When Phillies fans thought the bad vibes surrounding the team had gone away after an 18-2 win over the D-Backs on Wednesday, they came right back when the Phillies arrived at Oracle Park.

Kyle Gibson, the Phillies’ game-one starter, surrendered four runs in the first inning as the Giants sent eight men to the plate. In the following inning, free passes came back to bite him when Joc Pederson hit a three-run home run into the bay to extend San Francisco’s lead.

Gibson was pulled after allowing seven runs on five hits and walking four batters over 1.2 innings of work.

Sam Coonrod and Cris Sanchez came in for relief, and both struggled to command their fastballs. Coonrod walked Wilmer Flores with the bases loaded, and Sanchez walked two more batters after relieving Coonrod with all three bases occupied.

The Giants kept pouring runs on the board while Giants’ starter Alex Cobb diced through the Phillies lineup. He was pulled after going seven strong innings. The Phillies scored one run in the ninth off Giants’ infielder Luis Gonzalez, but Donny Sands grounded out to end the 13-1 loss.

Noah Syndergaard took the bump for the Phillies in their game-two loss.

Early defensive issues paired with a rough outing from Noah Syndergaard forced Rob Thomson to go to his bullpen with just one out in the fifth inning.

Connor Brogdon allowed back-to-back hits after being called in from the bullpen, giving the Giants a lead. Brad Hand was called upon to pitch the sixth, and what should have been an easy inning turned into a nightmare. A few hits, defensive miscues, and walks loaded the bases with two outs, and Brad Hand walked his third batter of the inning with the bags loaded to gift the Giants a lead.

Jean Segura and Bryson Stott each recorded three hits, and Matt Vierling had a clutch RBI single at the beginning of the game. Stott, even, hit a mammoth home run into McCovey Cove, which re-tied the game after Lamonte Wade, Jr. scored on Rhys Hoskins’ fielding error in the home half of the third.

Kyle Schwarber had two hits—one being a leadoff triple that the top of the order eventually stranded—but cost the Phillies two runs by misplaying multiple balls in left field.

Looking for redemption, the Phillies sent Ranger Suarez to the mound in game three, who was hoping to lead the Phillies to a series-salvaging win. Similarly to his last two outings, Suarez struggled to get through the fourth inning, a clear sign of fatigue from the left-hander.

Ultimately, Suarez allowed three runs in four innings and threw just 69 pitches in the loss.

Carlos Rodon, San Francisco’s ace, shut down the Phillies through six innings. But after a scoreless seventh inning tossed by Alex Young, J.T. Realmuto hit a game-tying, three-run home run off John Brebbia in the eighth.

Although the momentum was shifting towards the Phillies, Rob Thomson had a shorthanded bullpen, forcing him to throw David Robertson for two innings. This plan eventually backfired when Wilmer Flores hit a walk-off home run with two away in the ninth.

Defensive struggles

Many people speculated that defense would be a problem for the 2022 Phillies. And despite having an acceptable defensive season as a whole, the Phillies struggled to make simple, routine plays in San Francisco.

There were only three Phillies errors in the scorebook this weekend, but there were other mental mistakes in the infield and misread balls in the outfield that started innings off on the wrong foot.

Following the game two loss, Rob Thomson was asked about his team’s defense: “It’s tough. We’ve been doing that a little bit lately. We’ve got to clean that up.”

Kyle Schwarber had a similar message about the loss. He said that you must “…learn from it. [We must] turn it into a positive, and then go from there.”

And in terms of mistakes in the field, making plays wasn’t their only issue this series; the walks killed them, too.

The Phillies walked runs home in two of the three games in San Francisco, which is something only the pitchers can control. In many instances, it leaves the offense a slim chance to make a comeback. And while no walk is a good thing, many of the free passes given by Phillies pitching came in the least ideal situations. David Robertson walked the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the ninth, giving Wilmer Flores—San Francisco’s three-hole hitter—an opportunity to hit in the ninth inning.

In the second game, Brad Hand walked three batters in an inning, one of which was with the bases loaded. Ranger Suarez gave out two free passes in his short-lived start, and Sam Coonrod’s disastrous third inning on Friday also featured two costly walks.

Banged up

The Bridge to a red October seemed clear, but now that bridge is decaying faster than we might have expected.

Nick Castellanos was pulled after his second at-bat on Friday and was eventually put on the ten-day injured list with an oblique strain. Zack Wheeler was expected to make a return in his next start in the rotation, but Rob Thomson announced Saturday that he was still feeling some pain from the tendonitis.

Unfortunately, it is not just the injuries holding back the Phillies. The bullpen had to throw a whopping 16 innings in just three games against the Giants, and this was a clear problem late in the game on Sunday.

Seranthony Dominguez should start a rehab assignment soon, which is great news for a bullpen in need of some reinforcements.

So needless to say, the Phillies will definitely need their day off ahead of a three-game series versus the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

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