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A bad pitcher’s best friend: Reds 5 Phillies 2

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The Phillies offense and Aaron Nola teamed up for another listless effort.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s not mince words here. Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tim Adleman is a bad Major League pitcher.

Adleman came into Friday night’s game against the Phillies with a 6.19 ERA, and his FIP of 5.22 proved that ERA wasn’t artificial. He had given up 24 runs in 32 innings this season, and in his six starts, he has never lasted more than six innings, and he has given up seven home runs in those six starts.

So of course the Phillies made him look like Max Scherzer.

Adleman pitched 8 innings of shutout ball and his merry band of Red Legs beat the Phillies 5-2 at Citizens Bank Park, the Phils’ 21st loss in their last 26 games. They have not won consecutive games since April 26-27, and for the first eight innings, the Phillies managed a grand total of one hit.

ONE.

HIT.

The Phils mounted a late rally in the bottom of the 9th, when Michael Saunders and Maikel Franco both stepped to the plate as the tying run, but Saunders hit a meek RBI ground out and Franco struck out a 3-2 hanging breaking pitch that most other power hitters in baseball would have wailed into into a different dimension.

And thus, the middle of the order failed to capitalize on the rare rally.

In all, the Phils finished with three hits on the night, a disturbing trend against mediocre pitching on this homestand. Over their last six games, they have scored nine total runs, and have been held to three hits on four separate occasions.

But more than that, it’s the quality (or lack thereof) of the competition that is particularly unnerving. Aside from Adleman’s ghastly ERA, the four Colorado Rockies pitchers who stymied the Phils earlier this week came into the series with a collective 5.27 ERA.

The Phillies have not been facing the best arms baseball has to offer, and yet, they have been painfully anemic. Apparently, manager Pete Mackanin has reached the point where he felt it necessary to call a team meeting after the game.

Coming into this weekend, the Phils were hitting .190/.248/.294 in their last 7 games, and over the last two weeks, the slash line is .216/.274/.339. The progress it felt like the lineup had made under hitting coach Matt Stairs seems to have evaporated.

It’s bad. And the starting pitching ain’t helping either.

In his second game back from the disabled list, Aaron Nola was not as sharp. He went six innings and gave up five runs on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks, raising his ERA to 4.34. He was done in by two home runs in the game, as well.

It was another lost night at the park in what has become a depressingly lost season for the Phillies.