Coming into Thursday's series finale against the Cardinals in St. Louis, the Phillies offense had scored 90 runs so far this season, 28th out of 30 MLB clubs here in 2016. Their team .226 batting average was also 28th in baseball, their wRC+ of 69 was second-worst, and their .284 on-base percentage ranked dead last.
So the fact the offense struggled in Thursday's 4-0 isn't shocking. No, THIS was what was shocking.
Phillies fall to Cardinals, 4-0. It is the 1st time they've been shutout this season. Phillies scored 8 runs in 4 game series.— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) May 5, 2016
Given all their struggles, all the games in which it seemed like scoring a run was harder than giving birth to triplets, this was the first time all season they were shut out? And what is the deal with offensive futility and Cinco de Mayo?
Phillies have now been shut out on Cinco de Mayo for 3 straight years (2014-16). And in '13, were held to 1 run after being blanked on 5/4.— Matt Mullin (@matt_mullin) May 5, 2016
Old nemesis Jaime Garcia stifled a punchless Phils offense that was without third baseman Maikel Franco, who received a much-needed day off after having been mired in a 2-for-24 and 5-for-36 tailspin. Garcia gave up only 2 hits in 7 innings, striking out 5 and walking no one. Jonathan Broxton and Trevor Rosenthal each pitched a scoreless inning for the Red Birds.
Jerad Eickhoff started for the Phillies and, while he didn't look spectacular, managed to hold the Cardinals to just a single run until 7th. After allowing runners on 1st and 3rd with no out, he left the game, still down 1-0. Elvis Araujo then allowed two inherited runners to score, putting Eickhoff's line at 3 earned runs on 6 hits with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks. His ERA now stands a 4.21 on the season.
There was a worrisome moment for Eickhoff in the 7th. After the leadoff walk to Yadier Molina, Eickhoff tried to make a pick-off throw to first, but appeared to catch his spike in the ground. The trainer came out, but allowed Eickhoff to stay in the game. After Jeremy Hazelbaker singled to put runners on the corners, Eickhoff's day was done.
And there was reason to worry.
Mackanin doesn't have advantage of seeing a replay of Eickhoff's leg twist on that turn to 1st. Otherwise, would've pulled him sooner.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 5, 2016
After Colton Murray pitched 1/3 of an inning and allowed an inherited runner to score, David Hernandez pitched a scoreless 8th, but also walked off the mound with the team's trainer.
Two pitchers down in a 4-0 loss? That would have made for a very bad day. Luckily, all appears to be well.
Jerad Eickhoff and David Hernandez both said they are fine after they were visited on the mound by team trainer.— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) May 5, 2016
So even though the Phillies lost three out of four to the Cardinals, the news that their two pitchers were healthy almost makes everything alright. The loss drops the Phils to 16-13 on the season, but the schedule for the next two weeks is pretty sweet.
They play six games against the 14-12 Marlins, six against the 7-20 Braves and three against the 11-17 Reds.
Time to fatten up, boys.