The Philadelphia Phillies have found numerous ways to lose games this season, but their 12-4 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday might have been the most maddening.
The Reds erased a two-run deficit by scoring four runs in the seventh inning, then added six more in the eighth to stun the Phillies.
The Phillies will attempt to rebound when they open a three-game series against the visiting Miami Marlins on Tuesday. Philadelphia has dropped nine of its past 13 games while Miami has lost five of its past seven.
Neftali Feliz was charged with the Phillies’ 21st blown save of the season Monday. The franchise record is 25, set in 2004.
“A lot of our mistakes … have been defense,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “So, I mean, you can put it on the bullpen, but it’s been the defense. Every crucial inning, we’ve had an error that’s led to runs. Runs lead to extra pitches for pitchers. Pitchers don’t go as deep. Bullpen guys can’t go as often. You can’t just look at what it does to allow a baserunner. It changes a lot of things.”
The Phillies’ bullpen posted the worst ERA in the major leagues last season, 7.06. After a decent start this season, the bullpen has been brutal in recent weeks, with the relievers’ ERA rising to 4.44.
“The bottom line is, if you make a decision in the ninth inning and it doesn’t work, you’re going to be criticized. That’s OK,” Girardi said.
The Phillies should have some extra help in the field Tuesday, though, as they are expected to activate Jean Segura before the game. Segura, who was hitting .332, has been on the injured list since June 16 due to a groin injury.
Vince Velasquez (2-2, 4.74 ERA) will make his 12th start of the season for Philadelphia. In his career against the Marlins, he is 5-4 with a 4.54 ERA in 18 starts. He beat them 2-0 in Miami on May 25 when he threw six shutout innings.
The Marlins arrive in Philadelphia coming off a four-game split with the visiting Washington Nationals. Miami had a day off Monday.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly believes that his club is better than its last-place standing in the National League East, particularly due to the quality of his pitching staff.
“When you have that type of pitching, you’re capable of going on a roll,” Mattingly said. “I just know that I’ve seen it in the past. It’s a possibility.”
The offense has been inconsistent all season, but the talent is there.
“Those rolls get going and the streaks have been incredible,” Mattingly said. “We’re capable of rolling off 10 in a row. And I just believe that, and again I could be wrong, but I believe it, and I want them to hear it because I’m not a guy that’s going to sit there and get way high if we’re playing good and I’m not going to get low when we’re not playing good.”
The Marlins’ Tuesday starter, rookie Trevor Rogers (7-4, 2.08 ERA), has been one of the top pitchers in the NL all season. For his career against the Phillies, Rogers is 1-1 with a 5.74 ERA in three starts.
In Rogers’ latest start, he gave up five hits and three runs in five innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday. The 23-year-old left-hander didn’t look as effective as he had been in previous starts.
“Felt out of sync a little bit,” Rogers said postgame. “Today was going on my eighth day. Extra jitters, extra adrenaline. It’s been a week and some change since my last time out.”
–Field Level Media