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No more words: Rays 6, Phillies 4

Was this the end of the 2020 season?

Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

This game could be the end of several things in Philadelphia. It’s almost certainly the end of the line for the Phillies’ playoff hopes. Even with a victory they would need help to get into the postseason, but when you can’t even help yourself with a victory, those other outcomes don’t matter.

It could mean the end of Vince Velasquez’s tenure in Philadelphia. Outside of Nick Pivetta, who has already moved onto a different setting, no player has been more frustrating over the past decade than Velasquez. It’s been like a broken record every year, but his talent is obvious, yet his results are terrible. He’s simply not a good major league starter and that’s a fact. Tonight, he showed a glimpse of it, having a solid first four innings before the wheels began to wobble in the fifth.

That phrase - “a solid first four innings” - is a microcosm of Velasquez’s career. It’s been argued before by this author that when a player shows vulnerability like Velasquez has on occasion, it makes it tough to get so down on the guy.

That sentiment is over. Vince Velasquez should not throw another pitch for the Phillies ever again, and if he does, the person making that decision should be fired. He’s a below average pitcher who has not shown the ability to be better. He doesn’t belong in a rotation.

It’s shocking that the team was even in the game for as long as they were. In the third, after the Rays had a 1-0 lead, they got some offense going by hitting the ball hard off of Charlie Morton. Scott Kingery had a single, went to third on a groundball by Andrew McCutchen, then scored on a single by Alec Bohm. Bryce Harper continued his last ditch effort to lead the team to a playoff berth by knocking a hard hit triple to right, then scored himself when the Rays turned that into a Little League home run.

Once the real Velasquez decided to show up, the bullpen was given the keys to the game and - WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?! - they completely blew the game.

First, it was Tommy Hunter giving up the third Rays run in the fifth inning after Velasquez allowed three baserunners, then he allowed the game tying home run in the sixth inning to Brett Phillips.

But don’t worry guys - Tommy tried his hardest.

In the eighth, Adam Morgan started the inning, loaded the bases with one out, gave way to Hector Neris, who continued his brutal season by allowing a two-run single that sealed the deal, making the score 6-4. With the Rays’ dominant bullpen, in direct contrast to the Phillies’ version, there was little hope for a comeback.

Watching a bullpen that knows how to do its job is disconcerting. It must be nice to have someone in the front office that is able to not only select the correct players to stock the bullpen, but also to build a player development program in the minor leagues to draft and develop pitchers that would come to the majors and succeed.

Whose job is that again?