In this past weekend’s series against the Braves, the Phillies’ pitching wasn’t great, but it felt like most of the blame for the sweep lay at the feet of the offense. But in Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays, the loss was undoubtedly the fault of the pitching staff. Kyle Gibson got rocked early, the bullpen got rocked late, and despite signs of life from their offense, the Phillies were decimated by a score of 18-11.
Gibson’s awful night began in the first when Matt Chapman came to the plate with two men on and two outs.
The floodgates, they were open.
Gibson gave up two more in the second, and another in the third. Thanks to a double play, Gibson miraculously avoided allowing any runs in the fourth, but fear not, he was back on his BS in the fifth when he gave up another run.
If you thought things would improve once the Phillies opened up the bullpen, you were wrong. The final four innings seemed to be a contest as to which reliever could pitch the worst. Zach Eflin gave up a run in the sixth, but in his defense, the run was partly due to an error by Bryson Stott. (It was his second of the night. The defense was also bad committing three errors.) Conor Brogdon followed him with a two-run seventh, and Sam Coonrod gave up four in the eighth.
Sadly, the worst was still yet to come. Despite the ineptitude of the pitching staff, the offense attempted to make a game of it on a couple of occasions. Entering the ninth inning, the Phillies had crawled back to make it 14-10.
And then Brad Hand entered the game.
Hand gave up four runs in 0.2 innings, the big blow being a three-run home run by Jackie Bradley, Jr. You may recognize Bradley as being one of the worst offensive players in baseball over the past two seasons. Even he didn’t have much better with the pitches that Hand is serving up these days.
After that, Thomson called upon a position player to finish things off. Congratulations to backup catcher Garrett Stubbs for being the only Phillies pitcher to not allow a run on Tuesday!
The Phillies have allowed 18 runs, 21 hits and 10 extra-base hits tonight.— Corey Seidman (@CSeidmanNBCS) September 21, 2022
It's happened to them only twice in the last 78 years -- a 24-4 loss to the Mets in 2018 and the 23-22 win over the Cubs in 1979.
Normally, I might write this loss off as just a bad game and rationalize that none of those runs the Blue Jays scored will carry over to tomorrow’s game. But that kind of rationalization works better when the loss isn’t their fifth in a row, and the team almost seems like it wants to blow a playoff spot.
Maybe the return of Zack Wheeler will provide the team with a lift. However, it’s more likely that he will be a bit rusty and won’t be in top form. Based on what we witnessed on Tuesday night, that will allow him to fit right in with his teammates.