The Phillies’ road trip started off well with four straight wins in Washington. But after dropping an ugly finale in DC, the Phils have found Texas to be much less hospitable. In Wednesday afternoon’s contest against the Rangers, Zack Wheeler pitched below his standards, and was also the victim of some bad defense and a bad call. With no help from his offense, the result was a 4-2 loss that gave the Rangers a sweep of the season series - and nine straight in the series overall.
Some of Wheeler’s issues were of his own making, and some were not. He walked the leadoff hitter in the second, but that runner should have been erased by a double play from the next batter. Instead, Rhys Hoskins committed an error, eventually leading to unearned runs in the inning.
The following inning, a missed strike three call didn’t lead to any runs, but forced Wheeler to throw 19 more pitches to get out of the inning.
Wow. Welcome to the Ump Show. Instead of a Strike em out, throw em out double play to end the inning, they say check swing and ball 4. This will add a lot more pitches for Wheeler and change the complexion of this game. It’s so bad. pic.twitter.com/UfhFBnLLDb— Scott Seidenberg (@ScottsOnAir) June 22, 2022
It wasn’t Wheeler’s finest performance, but he wasn’t awful, and the bullpen actually pitched well after his early exit. Unfortunately, the offense has gone cold. Jon Gray and the Rangers’ bullpen limited the Phillies to just five hits.
Kyle Schwarber got the Phillies on the board in the third with a home run that briefly tied the game at two.
But that was it as far as the run scoring went. That was also it as far as extra base hits went.
The return of Bryce Harper to the lineup didn’t provide the expected spark, mostly because multiple players are in the midst of horrific slumps. Odubel Herrera hasn’t gotten a hit since the road trip began. J.T. Realmuto followed up his two-hit game (albeit a quiet two-hit game) on Tuesday by going 0-4. And Nick Castellanos looks like he has lost any concept of the strike zone. He actually reached base once by striking out on a wild pitch that wasn’t anywhere near the strike zone.
It was especially galling to see them fail to get anything done against Matt Moore who has inexplicably turned into a dominant reliever after spending an awful 2021 season with the Phillies.
The good news is that this was the last game for the Phillies against the Rangers. The bad news is that they now have to head to San Diego to face a first place Padres team and their excellent pitching staff. If the Phillies’ hitters don’t snap out of it soon, this road trip has the potential to get even uglier.