Fresh off the pain of yesterday, the Phillies hoped to rebound against the Giants and try to salvage what was left of their dignity. And things started well! The Phillies sent Zack Wheeler out to attack this Giants lineup with a pretty normal starting 9 as well, save for Hoskins and Gregorius. Wheeler pitched pretty well and efficiently for the first four innings, aided by defense like a tremendous catch in center field by Mickey Moniak in the first inning.
Unlike recent games, the offense contributed, aided by the young guns. Brad Miller, Alec Bohm, and defensive sub Rhys Hoskins (don’t worry, I’ll explain) all hit home runs. Nick Maton, notably, kicked things off in the first with the first RBI of his career.
Six starters in total contributed offensively tonight through runs or RBIs, which is great to see considering how slowly the offense has taken to warm up, and how inconsistently they’ve hit.
But even from the beginning of this match, there were signs that it was cursed. Jean Segura injured himself running to first base to end the second inning. Segura has been red-hot to start 2021 and losing his bat can only spell bad news for this underwhelming Phillies offense.
Here's the play where Jean Segura injured himself. pic.twitter.com/UJYaHXknT0— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) April 20, 2021
The wheels began to fall off in the fifth inning, when Wheeler did his best Vince Velasquez impression and labored through 7 ABs, striking out two and giving up 3 runs on 2 long balls. It was, in a word, frustrating. By the time he was pulled in the sixth, Wheeler had given up another homer and thrown well over 100 pitches.
But the blame can’t be shouldered entirely by Wheeler. A large part of this loss falls to Joe Girardi, who pretty much allowed this game to implode through mismanagement, namely leaving Connor Brogdon in for way too long. Look, there are no perfect options in this bullpen, but Brogdon was due to get knocked around sooner or later. Allowing him to face 8 batters and give up an astonishing 6 ER to make it 10-6 was just one move that meant that a winnable game slipped away. And that doesn’t even get into head-scratching decisions like subbing in Roman Quinn for Mickey Moniak and *checks notes* second baseman Andrew Knapp? Wait, that really happened tonight:
This game is out of hand all of a sudden, so Andrew Knapp is going to play second base.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) April 21, 2021
I think that this game exemplifies what it has been like to watch the Phillies in recent seasons: things begin well enough, but a combination of managerial errors, injury, and missed opportunities all add up to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. This was a winnable game, one of many the Phillies have and will faced this season, and they just can’t keep losing these.
With this loss, the Phillies fall to 8-9 on the season. Tonight’s loss is best forgotten, so it’s a good thing that it’s April 20. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon’s game is better, because we won’t have the luxury of an alibi for forgetfulness.