Things at PNC Park today started with an additional clip for the Cesar Hernandez’s Very Poor Base Running Lowlight Reel that will be produced this season in lieu of a video yearbook. An Odubel Herrera strikeout later, the first inning seemed to be following the script for most of the Phillies’ innings this season, but then Andres Blanco stepped in and put the Phillies on the board with a solo shot. The universe would later correct this distortion by having Blanco leave the game with a finger injury. He’s probably going to the DL.
Vince Velasquez came out spitting fire, but by the second inning, there were already two base runners on when he uncorked a wild pitch that moved everybody up 90 feet further than Velasquez probably wanted them to. A ground-out and a Sean Rodriguez double put the Pirates up 2-1.
The Phillies offense heaved forward again in the third, with Velasquez beating out a trickler to third base and getting tripled home by Hernandez. Before Hernandez could get picked off or pull the base out of the ground and try to give it to a fan or something, Herrera hit a ground-out strategic enough to score him. The 3-2 lead became a 4-2 lead one cycle through the lineup later, when Herrera hit a home run to make it 4-2.
By now, it was the sixth inning, and the Buccos were ready to win the game. Matt Joyce’s two-run shot tied things up, but Pete Mackanin left Velasquez in there to get three outs. In the end, VV allowed seven hits, four earned runs, four walks, and five strikeouts, departing with an ERA of 3.34. Edubray Ramos replaced him and was greeted by an Adam Frazier home run in the seventh that gave the Pirates the lead for good.
Velasquez’s fellow 24-year-old across the way, Jameson Taillon, went six innings as well, allowing eight hits and four earned runs. Taillon may have failed to walk anybody, and struck out seven Phillies, but as manager Clint Hurdle pointed out, Taillon was particularly good at not running away or quitting in the middle of the game.
"He made some mistakes and he paid for them, but he kept us in the game and he really didn't fold or go away.”
Pete Mackanin basically just told people that the Phillies never got the “big hit” they needed, probably referring to some kind of prolonged outburst of offense that you might see teams other than the Phillies occasionally experience. Once again, key opportunities were missed - Odubel Herrera struck out with runners on first and third in the seventh - or avoided entirely - Cody Asche went 0-for-4. Ryan Howard had two hits, though. And Chooch hit a double. Hernandez went 3-for-5.
Rounding the corner into the last week before the trade deadline, the Phillies will be 45-55, with Maikel Franco, Cameron Rupp, and Andres Blanco all nursing wounds. There have been better times to be alive. In the days ahead, we can look forward to Jeremy Hellickson having a second audition with the Marlins. Break a leg, Jeremy! We love you.