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Broken: Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6

New country, same old devastating losses

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays
Nick Pivetta and the rest of the Phillies pitchers failed on Saturday
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Gather round, kids, and let me tell you about a happier time: It was the fourth inning of Saturday’s game, and the Phillies had opened up a 5-0 lead over the host Blue Jays.

Unlike many other days, the Phillies were matched against a not-so-great pitcher, and actually scored runs off of him. The Phillies scored one run against Aaron Sanchez in the third, and then pushed across four more in the fourth. After so many tough losses, it seemed like the Phillies might actually coast to an easy win.

If by some chance, you didn’t catch the game (or somehow you managed to avoid seeing the headline of this recap), then I implore you to stop reading now. Go to bed assuming that the Phillies played like a competent team and successfully defended that 5-0 lead.

As for everyone else...

Nick Pivetta was the starting pitcher for the Phillies, which was noteworthy because he is Canadian, and this was a rare opportunity to pitch in his native land. For the first three innings, he did so admirably. In the fourth inning, trouble began. Kendrys Morales, who has somehow mysteriously become a star, homered, which marked the sixth(!) straight game he has done so. Teoscar Hernandez drove in another run, and all of a sudden the Phillies lead was 5-3.

The Phillies actually answered back the following inning with an RBI single by Jorge Alfaro. It felt like order had been restored, and with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, it looked like Pivetta was in position to earn a feel-good win. Billy McKinney had other ideas:

That was it for Pivetta, and it would be up to the Phillies bullpen to protect a one-run lead for 2.1 innings. They failed...spectacularly.

Seranthony Dominguez, once the shining light of the Phillies’ bullpen, appears to be horribly broken. For the second time in as many appearances, he was given a late-inning lead to protect and was unable to do so. He loaded the bases with a single, walk, and hit batsman. Unlike on Wednesday night, Gabe Kapler didn’t allow Dominguez to complete the self-destruction, instead calling upon Victor Arano.

Arano struck out the first batter he faced, and with two outs, all he needed to do was retire Aledmys Diaz. Here’s how that turned out:

The Phillies technically had a chance to make a comeback of their own, but that’s not really how things work for them these days.

Considering how many of these gut punch losses the Phillies have suffered this season, you’d think we’d all be immune to their effects by now. I mean, this probably wasn’t even the team’s worst loss of the week! But it hurt nonetheless, and makes it near impossible to deny the truth about the Phillies: They are a bad team right now.

A sign of a bad team is that they find ways to lose games. When the pitching is good, the bats go quiet. When they actually score a few runs, the pitchers can’t hold the lead. The Phillies keep finding ways to turn winnable games into heartbreaking losses. While they are theoretically still in playoff contention, after watching them on Saturday, it would be hard to find anyone who believes that will actually happen.