When a pitcher like Zack Wheeler is striking out 14 batters in a game while barely going over 100 pitches, you’d assume what the outcome would be. Facing a guy who barely breaks 90 with his fastball, you’d assume an offense would be able to tee off.
Neither assumption would prove to be correct today.
The game started as an unexpected pitcher’s duel. Wheeler gave up a two-run home run to Austin Meadows to spot Tampa Bay an early 2-0 lead, but other than that, Wheeler was on his game. He was quite stellar in this one, but that one bad pitch to Meadows was just unfortunate.
The Phillies, though, were tamed early on by Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough. Through the first four innings, Yarbrough struck out seven Phillies hitters, allowing only one hit and one walk, that walk being the only runner who would make it to second base in that time frame. In the fifth though, the Phillies’ bat would wake up. After an Alec Bohm strikeout, Odubel Herrera walked and Roman Quinn laid down an absolute beauty of a bunt to put runners on first and second with one out. Up stepped Ronald Torreyes, who promptly stroked a double into right field, then went to third when Manuel Margot bobbled the ball.
All tied up!— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) May 29, 2021
More importantly, sending all our best wishes to Roman. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/sv8oEgOcwT
The bad news on that play, as you saw, was Quinn injuring himself rounding third, later confirmed to be an Achilles injury, one that may end his career here in Philadelphia.
The game was tied at two, though, which was want the team wanted with Wheeler on the mound. He breezed through the first two hitters in the sixth with no issues, but as they usually do, two out walks came back to bite Wheeler when Ji-Man Choi smashed a first pitch single into centerfield to score Yandy Diaz and send the lead back to Tampa Bay.
In the seventh, Matt Joyce, he of the 0-for-26 slump, came up in place of the injured Quinn, saw a fastball he liked from a left-handed pitcher and drilled it
With the injury to Quinn and the not so appealing options to replace him for the time being, having Joyce get hot would be a big boost.
The game stayed tied into the eighth inning where the Phillies had a golden opportunity to take the lead when Jean Segura led the inning off with a single, then stole second base with no one out. The subsequent batters failed to bring him in, though Hoskins did hit the ball right on the nose, just right at Kevin Kiermaier in centerfield. Usually when a team doesn’t take advantage of those kinds of chances, the other team makes them pay. That’s what happened here.
Sam Coonrod came on in relief of Wheeler, gave up an infield single to Randy Arozarena, struck out Brandon Lowe and intentionally walked Diaz to set up a double play. With Meadows, a lefty, coming up, Girardi went with Jose Alvarado. And since the Phillies have the worst luck on balls in play:
That just sucks.
With Alvarado on the mound, these are the types of things that happen - weak contact and walks. With the weak contact out of the way, Alvarado proceeded to move on the next part, which was giving up walks. First, he hit Choi to load the bases, then got a massive strikeout of Margot to bring up Mike Brosseau. That’s where the walks come in. Alvarado walked him with the bases loaded and two outs, giving another run to Tampa Bay and putting the game out of reach. Recently acquired J.P. Feyereisen shut down the Phillies in the ninth and the game was over.
Losing Quinn, presumable for the rest of the season, hurts the depth of this team, but they’ll need to get back at it tomorrow. These two teams go back at it again tomorrow afternoon.