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Familiar: Braves 5, Phillies 2

The Phillies’ bullpen was handed a lead. The Phillies lost the game.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One
Vince Velasquez couldn’t make it through the fifth
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

You’re going to find what I’m about to write very easy to believe: Vince Velasquez started for the Phillies and did not pitch deep into the game. Nonetheless, he handed a lead (albeit a slim one) to the bullpen, and the bullpen did not preserve that lead. The result was a 5-2 loss to the Braves in the opening game of a doubleheader.

With top prospect Spencer Howard set to make his debut, there was some thought that Velasquez is pitching for his spot in the rotation. While the plethora of doubleheaders likely means he’ll stick around for awhile, I don’t think he made a strong case to remain otherwise.

Yes, there were encouraging signs. Velasquez only gave up one run - and that run scored after he was removed - but showing encouraging signs has never been his problem. Delivering consistently quality starts and pitching deep into games are Velasquez’s problems, and even in this “encouraging” start, he couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning.

He left with the Phillies ahead 1-0, but after Deolis Guerra and Adam Morgan were finished, they trailed 5-1.

Five runs is not an insurmountable lead to overcome, but the Phillies’ offense didn’t do much against the array of relief pitchers the Braves used. They walked six times, but with only three hits over the game’s seven innings, they could only scratch across two runs.

The teams will be back at it this afternoon when Howard takes the mound in the second game of the doubleheader. Hopefully, unlike Velasquez, he’ll be able to both show some encouraging signs AND remain in the game past the fifth inning.