As Tuesday night’s game begin, I wasn’t enthused about recapping a contest in which the Phillies would be playing the Marlins and had Vince Velasquez as the starting pitcher. Both of those circumstances tend to lead to annoyance, and - especially considering they were fielding a lineup packed with fill-ins - there was a good chance that watching the game would be an exercise in frustration. But Velasquez pitched well, the defense was actually a positive, and Rhys Hoskins supplied just enough offense to lead the Phils to a 2-0 win.
After missing his last start with a numb finger, Velasquez picked up where he left off, giving the Phillies six scoreless innings.
Vince Velasquez last 7 appearances (6 starts):— Bob Wankel (@BobWankelCB) May 26, 2021
32.2 IP, 22 H, 8 ER, 36 K, (2.20 ERA)
Maybe I shouldn’t write this after that performance, but I’ll note that even on his best days, Velasquez can’t be completely frustration free. In the third inning, he walked the bases loaded, and the 29-pitch inning meant that - as always - he wouldn’t last past the sixth inning.
But I’ll save any further complaints for another day. Vince was good, and so was the defense, which on two separate occasions, made sure that Marlins’ second baseman Jazz Chisholm’s quest to take extra bases ended poorly.
Andrew Knapp throws out Jazz Chisholm trying to take third. pic.twitter.com/81BiAbxVUc— Justin Groc (@jgroc) May 25, 2021
The Phillies were fortunate to get a good start out of Velasquez, because as they so often do when they face Sandy Alcantara, their hitters spent most of the game hitting ground balls at various infielders.
In the fourth inning, one of those ground balls found its way into the outfield, and then Rhys Hoskins actually hit one in the air.
It’s good that Hoskins hit that ball so far, because that was it as far as base hits went for the Phillies. It’s difficult to win a game when you only get two hits and three baserunners altogether. But thanks to Velasquez - along with the relief trio of Sam Coonrod, Jose Alvarado, and Hector Neris - the Phillies pulled it off.
The series continues on Wednesday night, and the Phillies have Aaron Nola on the mound. Nola hasn’t been at his best in his last couple of starts, but the coaching staff should encourage him to not allow any runs this time around. Because as we’ve seen, that might be the only way the Phillies can actually beat the Marlins.