Based on the lineup they were forced to use, the Phillies’ chances didn’t seem all that great before the game began on Sunday. But the offense - especially the Nick Maton part of it - wasn’t the problem. The problem was that the Phillies’ pitchers and defense simply couldn’t stop the Blue Jays from scoring, and the result was a 10-8 loss.
With Bryce Harper, Didi Gregorius, and J.T. Realmuto all in “hurt, but not IL-level hurt” status, the Phillies’ lineup was filled with bench players, and the bench was left nearly empty. When Andrew Knapp was a late scratch due to an injury of his own, the Phillies were left with no healthy substitutes.
If you’re looking for silver linings, you can take solace that the non-existent bench didn’t really matter much in the outcome. Harper actually did enter the game in place of Scott Kingery, because everyone agreed that a clearly hampered Harper was still miles better than the husk of Kingery, whose miserable season continued with an 0-3, three strikeout day.
Sitting firmly in the goat category alongside Kingery is starting pitcher Chase Anderson. Anderson started his day by surrendering back-to-back home runs, and things never really improved from there.
Marcus Semien Drake— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 16, 2021
Comeback SZN pic.twitter.com/HqZie7zGVi
You want leadoff guys to get on base.— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 16, 2021
Ours hit BOMBS pic.twitter.com/wZy1HmQtdG
Anderson was coming off his best start of the season, but he was dreadful on Sunday. To be fair, he got no help from his defense - particularly Jean Segura who committed two errors and had a heated discussion with the manager about something - but seven runs in 1.1 innings is awful any way you look at it.
The Phillies’ offense somehow made a game of it. Nick Maton hit his first career home run in the fifth inning, and must have liked the feeling, because he went on to hit another one the next inning. Maton was 3-4 for the day, and its a shame that his career game came on a day when the pitching and defense was so putrid.
All of Nick Maton’s career home runs pic.twitter.com/rSPpkeRc2s— John Foley (@2008Philz) May 16, 2021
Unfortunately, the three relievers who followed Anderson each gave up a run, making the hole just too deep to dig out of.
And yet, the Blue Jays couldn’t quite finish the Phillies off, and in the ninth inning, Odubel Herrera just missed hitting a game-tying three-run home run. With two outs, Bryce Harper came to the plate representing the go-ahead run. But a miracle comeback was not to be, and Harper struck out to end the threat.
With a day off on Monday, the Phillies will thankfully get a chance to rest up, and they’ll probably actually have some bench players available the next time they take the field. Will the one-day hiatus do anything to improve their pitching and defense? That seems less certain.