It would have been nice if the Phillies - fresh off a successful West Coast trip - returned home and continued to play winning baseball. It would have been nice if the offense that terrorized the Dodgers pitching staff picked up where it left off and continued to score bunches of runs. But did anybody actually expect that?
Instead, most of us expected the Phillies to return home and fall flat, and that’s exactly what happened as they went down meekly to the San Diego Padres by a score of 3-0.
The Phillies were going against Padres starter Mike Clevinger, a solid starter who saw his career derailed by Tommy John surgery in 2021. His first two starts of the season were uneven, but he had no problems on Tuesday night. Despite his many gyrations on the mound, he limited the Phillies to one hit in five innings.
On the bright side, Zach Eflin was almost as effective. In his return from the COVID-19 list, he held the Padres to one run in six innings.
It was still a one-run game in the seventh when Joe Girardi brought in reliever James Norwood. I’m not entirely sure why with a fresh bullpen at his disposal, Joe Girardi opted for arguably his worst reliever, but the decision did not work out in his favor. Norwood walked the first batter and allowed a single to the next. Combined with a brutal error by Kyle Schwarber, the Padres’ lead increased to 2-0.
Terrible misplay by Kyle Schwarber that allows a run to score... pic.twitter.com/oXU9wlJTvE— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) May 18, 2022
Brad Hand was next to enter the game despite some pronounced problems with allowing inherited runners to score this season.
Brad Hand has allowed 6 of 14 inherited runners to score this season. His ERA is 1.80, but that’s a bit misleading.— Destiny Lugardo (@destiny_lugardo) May 18, 2022
Sure enough, he gave up a double to the first batter he faced, and the deficit increased to three runs.
Not that it mattered considering the Phillies didn’t score any runs. They almost threatened in the seventh, getting two runners on base, but a popup by Odubel Herrera and a ground ball fielder's choice by J.T. Realmuto put an end to that.
It was an especially bad night for Schwarber. In addition to the aforementioned error, he went 0-4 with four strikeouts at the plate. I’m sure there have been some at bats this season where Schwarber didn’t either hit a home run or strike out, but it’s difficult to recall any of them.
Hopefully, this was just one bad game that can be written off to either jet lag, a pitcher having a good night, or the absence of Bryce Harper (although it still hasn’t been announced when he’ll be back in the lineup). It would be nice if the offense could rebound from this and come out hot on Wednesday night. I’m just not sure anyone should expect that to actually happen.