Phillies relief pen teetering in savage loss to Washington


Washington Nationals Juan Soto, right, steals the second goal behind Philadelphia Phillies Brad Miller in the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo / Matt Slocum)

From average team relief to closest Hector Neris, the Philadelphia Phillies box wasted an offensive effort that included a Grand Slam in Wednesday’s loss to the Washington Nationals.


By Chris Murray

For the Philadelphia Sunday SUN

There is no doubt that the Philadelphia Phillies can hit and score just as good, if not better at times, than most teams in Major League Baseball.

The problem for the Phillies in 2021, just like in 2020, has kept other teams from scoring when they take the lead.

It’s something that once again bit the Phillies from the back as the Phillies pitchers struggled to keep the Washington Nationals off the scoreboard.

After the Phillies rallied to take a one point lead in the late eighth over a Ronald Torreyes single RBI that scored Alex Bohm, Phillies closest Hector Neris failed to wrap up the deal by allowing two runs early in the ninth to give Washington a 13-12 victory on a wild Wednesday afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park.

“Today was a bad day and we have to [do] better, ”Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.

In that fateful ninth inning, Neris, who made three missed saves in the last five games, helped Nationals first baseman Josh Bell and second baseman Josh Harrison reach in singles. A sacrifice bunt by receiver Alex Avila moved the runners to second and third. Starlin Castro’s center single put Washington for good.

“What killed us was we walked about seven guys in those two sets and maybe even seven scored and that’s the frustrating part,” Girardi said after the game. “We had leads and we gave it by posting so many walks and you just can’t do that.”

After Neris’ failed shutdown on Wednesday, Girardi said he would use the day off to think about putting someone else in the role closer.

Girardi said he doesn’t have four of his relief pitchers: Ranger Suarez, Connor Brogdon, Spencer Howard and Bailey Falter. Between starting pitcher Vince Velasquez and the relievers, the Phillies gave up eight walks that led to runs.

Meanwhile, the Phillies have a huge three-game road streak against the National League leaders New York Mets in the East that could either bring them back into the race or set them back further. The Phillies (34-37) are 4.5 games away from first place.

“We’re going to have a tough weekend in New York, but we have to keep going, keep playing our game and score points and control the things we can every night we go out there,” said the right fielder. Phillies Bryce Harper. “You can go either way. As a team, we need to regroup as quickly as possible. We have to come out victorious there. If we don’t, it’s going to be miserable to come back from this and we can’t afford to do it right now. “

During all four innings, Velasquez had a solid outing against the Washington Nationals and was apparently in full control of his throws. He had five strikeouts with zero walks and one hit.

Velasquez even helped his cause with an RBI single to give the Phillies a 5-0 lead after four innings.

But in the fifth inning, things started to fall apart for Velasquez categorically. He was walking Harrison and Avila. Castro doubled down on the left, scoring Harrison and sending Avila to third. Central gardener Victor Robles hit a pop fly at shallow center field that fell between second baseman Brad Miller and Central gardener Odubel Herrera. Avila scored.

After removing pinch hitter Gerardo Parra on strikes, Velasquez was replaced by relief pitcher Archie Bradley, who allowed the Nationals a three-run homerun. left player Kyle Schwarber equalizes the score at 5-5.

Velasquez allowed four runs on three hits, plus those two walks.

“We watched the walks and the counts (Velasquez) came in, he just couldn’t locate anymore,” Girardi said. “We thought we would bring in Archie who’s been pretty good in these situations. He snagged a bullet which breaks.

In their half of the fifth inning, the Phillies responded with a grand slam home run from Andrew McCutchen, hitting .466 with runners in scoring position since June 1. This gave the Phillies a 9-5 lead that they would entitle them back to the top of the sixth inning thanks to the team’s much-maligned reliever box.

The Nationals came back to score six points in the start of the sixth. Trea Turner scored two runs against Phillies reliever David Hale, who scored Castro and Robles. Later in the inning, Bell hit a Grand Slam home run to give Washington an 11-9 lead.

To their credit, the Phillies’ offense came back in their seventh half to reduce the lead to 11-10 on a single RBI from pinch hitter Luke Williams who scored Alec Bohm. They took the lead at the end of the eighth to lose it at the start of the ninth.

The Phillies will have time to think about what to do to avoid being swept away by the Mets when they travel to Citi Field for a three-game series starting at 4:10 p.m. Friday.

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