The Philadelphia Phillies began their road trip by stopping in the desert to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the first game of three against the Diamondbacks, the Phillies ran Kyle Gibson onto the mound. Gibson, previous to this start, had looked great in his first two starts for the Phillies but faltered in his last when he faced the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gibson did turn in a quality start on Tuesday night. The sinker baller cruised through the four innings and thoughts of a complete game started creeping into our thoughts. That efficiency (and the CG thoughts) came to an end in the fifth when Diamondbacks shortstop Josh Rojas hit his third knock of the night to score Daulton Varsho on an RBI double.
Despite tying the game up, it always felt like Arizona still didn’t have a chance. But, like clockwork, when those thoughts started creeping in, the Diamondbacks launched a two-run home run in the sixth to take a 3-1 lead that they would never relinquish. Gibson gave up the home run to Josh VanMeter who was hitting just .219 on the season with four homeruns.
they’re really gonna lose this game aren’t they— lauren (@philaurdelphia) August 18, 2021
Gibson’s night was over after six innings, disappointing considering his hot start out the gate.
Once again the Phillies’ bats fell silent. Apart from a Bryce Harper solo shot that was sent into orbit in the third inning, the rest of the offense was an utter disappointment.
Bryce Harper's 22nd homer of the season gives the Phillies a 1-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/LpRxkuU8RR— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) August 18, 2021
Philadelphia faced Taylor Widener to start and he was sporting a 4.98 ERA entering the game. Despite the fact he was baffling the Phillies, Widener was pulled after five innings and 68 pitches.
If you thought that Philadelphia would find more offensive success against the Diamondbacks bullpen, which is the second-worst in all of baseball, then you were dead wrong.
The Phillies had their best chance to get back into in the seventh when both Jankowski and Herrera had found their way on base via the walk. It set up a perfect opportunity for Jean Segura to earn back a run or two while also flipping over the lineup. Except, he ended the at bat (and inning) by flying out to shallow left. One would expect a batter with Segura’s pedigree to have found success against a bullpen sporting an ERA of 5.37. But, Segura has been mired in a slump over the last few games and even playing Arizona wasn’t a cure.
Phillies trail, 3-1, at the stretch. They haven't had a hit since the third inning. https://t.co/id2O4AJS9r— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 18, 2021
Despite the outcome, it is worth noting JD Hammer’s performance in which he pitched two scoreless innings. He has really set himself up well down the stretch and has proven to be an asset for the bullpen.
However, it goes without saying it is incredibly embarrassing for the Phillies offense to disappear against a team who’s fiercest competition this season is battling the Baltimore Orioles for being the worst team in baseball. This lineup misses Rhy Hoskins. This lineup is also missing the spark it needs to play the role it is designed to do: make up for the holes on defense and in pitching.
Something will have to change, and quickly, if they wish to play postseason baseball for the first time in a decade. A good start would be playing competitive baseball against a team with a .325 winning percentage.
That said, Philadelphia was unable to set the tone and gain momentum in the first game of this road trip. They entered play on Tuesday night trailing the Atlanta Braves 1.5 games back in the NL East, they exited play 2.5 games back.