A six game losing streak followed the Phillies into Milwaukee on getaway day. They needed a win. Badly. One guy who you’d think would be helpful in ending the streak did just that. Another guy, perhaps the last guy you’d think of, was also instrumental.
It wasn’t the greatest start to a game. Vince Velasquez was on the bump, yet in typical VV fashion, he let the other team strike first. Lorenzo Cain led off with a single, then was followed by two walks to Avisail Garcia and Keston Hiura. As I said, typical VV start. But Velasquez induced a groundball double play, then a pop-up, which meant with bases loaded and nobody out, a situation that according to a run expectancy matrix usually yields 2 1⁄2 runs, only one Brewer crossed the plate. <insert blinking eye gif>
The score stayed that way until the top of the fourth when local Oklahoman hero J.T. Realmuto bashed a two-run home run, giving the Phillies the lead. In the fifth, Realmuto struck again, this time a two RBI double that drove in Didi Gregorius and Bryce Harper, making it 4-1. Adam Haseley secured a bases loaded walk to drive in another run, Logan Forsythe (stealing playing time from the struggling Scott Kingery) slapped an RBI single and suddenly the score stood 6-1. Velasquez kept chugging along, the Phillies scoring another run in the 6th on an RBI double from Hoskins, and another run in the 8th, this time an RBI groundout from Realmuto, making the score 8-1.
Velasquez was quite good through these innings, only allowing the one run before he ran into trouble in the bottom of the 8th. Cruising right along, Velasquez allowed back-tp-back-to-back home runs to Garcia, Hiura and Yelich before being yanked for Deolis Guerra, whoo snuffed out the burgeoning rally. Hector Neris, in a non-save situation, locked up the ninth and the streak was over.
Getting a big game from Realmuto isn’t abnormal. He’s the best catcher in baseball and these things happen when the player is that good. Getting this kind of start from Velasquez? That’s something unexpected.
The team returns home tomorrow night to face the Marlins, hopefully getting a cure for what ails them.