As if beginning a four-game series against the D-backs who embarrassingly swept us last week wasn’t painful enough, the worst news came before the Phillies even took the field tonight.
For starters, remember how I said in last night’s recap that Zach Eflin would return tonight and start for the first time since July 16? Well, about that.
Eflin was scratched last minute because although he was just reinstated from the IL, he continued to have knee issues. Fan-favorite Matt Moore was slated to start in place of him.
Jose Alvarado was also reinstated from the IL and Chase Anderson was (finally) designated for assignment.
But the most damning news of all was not only was Rhys Hoskins headed back to the 10-day IL, but in an afternoon news conference stated that he was done for the season and would be getting abdominal surgery next week.
This series and the remainder of the season are sure to be a real treat!
Now that Rhys is gone, Bryce Harper is probably one of the only players left that gives a damn. He made this spectacular catch to end the top of the first.
Bryce Harper:— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 26, 2021
✅ makes the inning-ending catch
✅ nails the pop-up slide finish pic.twitter.com/KX9OqGc74N
Honestly, this team doesn’t even deserve him doing all that.
Moore ran into trouble in the second when he allowed four straight singles. Josh Rojas and Drew Ellis picked up RBIs. 2-0 D-backs, which once again, felt like a 10-run deficit.
We saw how this lineup performed without Rhys. It wasn’t pretty. And now that’s what we are to be subjected to the rest of the way.
Ellis led off the fourth with a double, and Nick Ahmed homered to center to put the D-backs up 4-0. Moore only lasted four innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, walking two, and striking out two.
Jean Segura, who’s been in a post-All-Star break slump, brought the Phillies within two in the fifth with a two-run opposite-field blast. He needed that.
JD Hammer came on in relief of Moore. Hammer pitched a clean fifth inning but wasn’t able to escape the sixth. Daulton Varsho singled and was able to advance to third on a throwing error on the pickoff attempt from Hammer. Ahmed walked and now runners were on first and third with one out and Ketel Marte coming up. Hammer was able to pick up a big K of Marte, but then old friend Asdrubal Cabrera brought home Varsho.
Hammer was replaced by Alvarado, his first appearance since returning from the IL. He quickly allowed an RBI single to Carson Kelly, with the run being attributed to Hammer. Now down by four, the Phillies had an even deeper hole to climb out of.
Another Phillies reliever to return from the IL was Sam Coonrod. It was his first appearance since June 23. Bailey Falter relieved Coonrod in the eighth after he allowed a two-out single to Cabrera. The first batter Falter faced was Kelly, and he belted a two-run blast to left to pull the D-backs ahead 8-2.
Phillies pitching combined to allow 15 hits.
D-backs starter Zac Gallen went five innings and allowed two runs on three hits, walking two and striking out six. The D-backs bullpen then held the Phils to just two hits across four innings, until the bottom of the ninth.
Brett de Geus walked Luke Williams to lead off the inning and Travis Jankowski was able to reach on an error. Freddy Galvis picked up an RBI on a force out, with Andrew Knapp coming up. Knapp, 0 for his last 14, reached second on an error. With two outs, the Phillies' last hope was Harper with runners on second and third. MV3 delivered, hitting a two-run double, his second 2B of the night, to bring the Phils within three.
Noe Ramirez replaced de Geus, walked J.T. Realmuto, with Didi Gregorius coming up and representing the tying run. Didi singled to plate Harper and Realmuto to bring the Phillies within one. However, the Phils’ rally fell short, with Brad Miller striking out swinging to end the game.
The D-backs picked up their 44th win. The Phillies fell below the .500 mark again. And arguably, losing this game by one is just as painful as losing it by six. See you all tomorrow. Maybe.