One night after Aaron Nola pitched the team to an important win over the Braves, the Phillies turned to Nick Pivetta in the second game of the series. Pivetta hasn’t come close to having the breakthrough season that many predicted, but there was hope that he would deliver a strong start against the Phillies’ division rivals. Instead, he came up small in key situations and allowed two home runs. The result was a disappointing 9-2 loss to the Braves.
The first three innings went well for Pivetta, with only one runner reaching base. In the fourth, things went downhill quickly. After a leadoff single by Darby Swanson, Freddie Freeman hit a grounder to Rhys Hoskins. It looked like a potential double play ball, but Hoskins’ throw hit Swanson, and the Braves instead had runners on the corners with nobody outs.
For much of his time with the Phillies, Pivetta has shown an inability to rally when faced with adversity. And like just about every pitcher on the staff, he’s given up home runs far too frequently. Both of those unfortunate tendencies reared their heads against Josh Donaldson.
After spending the early part of the game struggling against unremarkable starter Bryse Wilson, the Phillies’ offense finally showed signs of life in the sixth. Bryce Harper homered, and J.T. Realmuto singled home Rhys Hoskins to cut the deficit to one run.
The Phillies desperately needed a shutdown inning from Pivetta, and once again, he couldn’t come through. In the bottom of the sixth, he gave up another killer home run that basically killed any hopes of a Phillies’ comeback.
Juan Nicasio entered the game, and gave up three more runs in the inning. Not that it mattered much considering the Phillies offense could only manage one more hit the rest of the way.
The Phillies still have a chance to win the series and pick up an important game in the standings on Thursday night. Zach Eflin will get the start, and the Phillies hope that he can succeed where Pivetta failed.