There were two Philadelphia vs. Atlanta sports matchups held in the South Philadelphia sports complex on Tuesday night, and one of them went well for the home team. Unfortunately for local baseball fans, while the Sixers were boosted by an unexpectedly strong game by Shake Milton, the Phillies received disappointing performances from both stars and role players alike. The result was a 9-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
An Aaron Nola vs. Drew Smyly pitching matchup should have been to the Phillies’ advantage. And as expected, Smyly wasn’t very good. The problem was, like in too many of his recent starts, Nola wasn’t either.
Smarter people than me will try to deduce what’s wrong with Nola. But two things that have consistently plagued him this season are giving up runs in the first inning and runs with two outs. That continued on Tuesday.
Two-out trouble continues for Aaron Nola. In the first inning, he gave up his 12th two-out walk in 13 starts and an RBI double. In the fourth, he allows a two-out homer. Seven of the nine homers he's given up this season have come with two outs. 3-1, Braves.— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) June 9, 2021
Nola gave up four runs in five innings, and while the offense kept pace - and even gave the Phillies a lead after seven innings - they also left a lot of runners on base along the way. Rhys Hoskins seemed particularly determined not to drive in any runs, hitting into a double play, and leaving seven runners aboard.
Despite those problems, the Phillies were leading 6-5 heading into the eighth. Connor Brogdon was tasked with protecting that lead, and he failed miserably. First, he gave up a game tying home run to Austin Riley, and then allowed the next two batters to reach base as well.
Sam Coonrod was brought in to escape the jam, a job which he has been rather bad at this season.
That’s 8 of 12 inherited runners Coonrod has allowed to score. His early season magic dust looks like it’s wearing off— Paul (@paul_boye) June 9, 2021
The badness continued. First came a run-scoring single. And then, when he induced what could have potentially been an inning-ending double play, here’s what happened:
Sam Coonrod attempts to throw to second. LOL pic.twitter.com/5YhV8NTFaW— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) June 9, 2021
That’s pretty bad even for the Phillies. And after Ronald Acuna’s ensuing two-RBI single (three RBI on the night for him), the game was essentially over.
The pitching matchups for the remainder of the series don’t appear as favorable for the Phillies. If they want to rebound from this loss and win the remaining two games of the series, they may need to have an unexpected Shake Milton of their own step up and make some big plays. Or at the very least, not miss second base with a throw by about five feet.