Zack Wheeler on the mound is usually a formula for success for the Phillies. But a combination of an off night by the team ace, and an offense that couldn’t get much going at the plate resulted in a 6-1 loss to the Reds.
For the first three innings, it looked like we were in for a pitcher’s duel. Reds starter Tyler Mahle was setting the Phillies down with ease, while Wheeler was his usual dominant self. But things went awry in the fourth.
Tyler Naquin reached base when first baseman Brad Miller was too slow to get to the bag on what should have been a routine groundout. I’m not sure if this rattled Wheeler, but he hit the next batter with a pitch, and then made a mistake pitch to Joey Votto.
Faced with this setback, the Phillies’ hitters did not answer back. They got a leadoff double from Didi Gregorius in the fifth, but were unable to get him home. That was about it as far as scoring chances went until Gregorius hit a too little-too late double in the ninth to finally get the Phillies on the board. (Shout out to Heath Hembree for being unable to preserve the shutout!)
Nick Castellanos’ solo home run padded the Reds lead in the sixth, and then David Paulino made his Phillies debut by serving up a two-run shot to Eugenio Suarez in the ninth. Based on that performance, Joe Girardi will probably be using him in key situations in no time.
The teams will be back in action on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Phillies won’t have their ace on the mound for that one, and will instead rely on Matt Moore. But hey, since they got a poor start from Wheeler, maybe that just means they’re due for a good start out of Moore. We can hope, right?