The Phillies, as it turns out, might just kind of be...not very good, after all?
Oh, sure, I was all prepared to make a big stink about that close 3-2 pitch to Nomar Mazara in the first inning. Oh, yeah, I was primed to roll my eyes about one of the few (if not the only) runs allowed by Zach Eflin coming largely as a result of that walk. The Phils have played so many close games recently that I was fully prepared for the game to maybe even end with this score.
And then the Rangers decided to make it all just completely irrelevant.
The Phillies were outhit, outpitched and outfielded by the Rangers for a second straight night, succumbing to Texas’s offensive barrage to the tune of 9-3.
The game was over very early. Really, what was left uncertain was how many weird, quirky things could possibly happen over the balance of the game. The Phillies had four double plays through five innings (three traditional, one strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out), and no team had had five in almost 10 years! The Rangers had three sacrifice flies in the first three innings. How many would they finish with?! These are the sorts of pebbles you hunt for when your team is getting lambasted.
Zach Eflin had a terrifically poor outing, permitting 11 hits and allowing seven runs with two walks to one strikeout in four innings. That’s not great! Luis Garcia allowed a home run to someone named Jared Hoying, who finished with 4 hits on the night and nearly hit for the cycle.
Michael Saunders provided a flicker of offense in the 7th, smacking a two-run homer to right field after a Tommy Joseph double. Great.
For what it’s worth, Saunders, Joseph and Daniel Nava all had multiple hits. They were bright spots in an otherwise bleak evening, and the Phillies lost for the 11th time in 13 games and the 14th time in 17 games.
From mid-to-late April, a fair number of losses could be written off as “competitive.” And, truth be told, it’s nice even in hindsight to see that the Phils were competitive against the likes of the Nationals, Cubs and Dodgers. Fact is, though, they’re beginning to be exposed for their lack of depth and ridiculously poor two-strike pitching approach, and the losses are piling up.
Nick Pivetta takes on Martin Perez Thursday, as the Phils try to avoid being swept out of Arlington.