To put things mildly, it was a rough night for the Phillies. The club lost their second game of the season and dropped the opening series in Atlanta. The final score was 15-2 Braves in what was a long and miserable night that saw a utility infielder pitch the eighth.
As for the lineup, it remained largely the same as the night before with a few minor changes. Scott Kingery got his second start in as many games, this time starting at shortstop in place of JP Crawford. Jorge Alfaro also got his first start of the year behind the dish.
Velasquez Gets Torched, Doesn’t Make It Out Of The Third
It was a rough night for Vince Velasquez who allowed seven runs, four of them earned off of nine hits. Vince left the game after 2 2/3 innings with a pitch count of just 69. Velasquez continues to have the same issues that have plagued him thus far in his career. He is aggressive and consistently keeps the ball in the zone. When he’s on, this turns him into a strikeout machine. However, when he’s not on – he tends to allow lots of hits. Either way, Vince has always struggled to get deep into ball games and it was no different tonight.
The club also struggled with defense. A costly Jorge Alfaro throwing error in the third led to multiple runs scoring while a Cesar Hernandez error in the sixth led to another. The error by Cesar was immediately followed by a wild pitch from Jake Thompson that swelled the score to 9-2 Atlanta with nobody out in the sixth. All told, it was a very long night for Phillies’ pitchers.
On an unrelated note, Ryan Flaherty went 4 for 5 with two doubles and four runs scored in tonight’s game. Flaherty of course spent Spring Training with the Phillies but was released prior to Opening Day due to an opt-out clause. To say the least, Flaherty had an excellent series against his former club – going 8 for 13 with five runs scored, three doubles and an RBI.
The Bullpen Continues To Get Work
The bullpen was taxed yet again tonight with Hoby Milner entering the game in the third. Coming into a three run game (5-2 Braves), Milner allowed a bloop single to Nick Markakis that would score McCarthy and Inciarte. This gave the Braves a 7-2 lead that would only snowball from then on. Following Milner, Jake Thompson entered his first game of the year and looked shaky. Thompson went two innings – allowing five runs, four of them earned, off six hits. Yikes.
Perhaps the most notable (and surprising) development of the night was Pedro Florimon coming on to pitch the eighth. After recording two outs, the utility infielder walked Nick Markakis then allowed a home run to Lane Adams. Florimon then retired Dansby Swanson and the game went to the top of the ninth with the score at 15-2, where it would stay.
In three games, the bullpen has seen extensive usage with not one starter going above 75 pitches.
Kingery Doubles, Hoskins Stays Hot
Rhys Hoskins continued his hot start with an RBI single in the first inning off of Brandon McCarthy. A fielder’s choice on the next AB courtesy of Aaron Altherr scored Odubel Herrera which gave the Phils a 2-0 lead at the time. The lead wouldn’t hold, however, and the offense was quiet for the rest of the night.
On the bright side, Scott Kingery is flashing his potential. After recording his first major league hit in last night’s game, Kingery collected his first extra-base hit with a double to right in the fourth. He finished the night going 2 for 4 with two doubles. Kingery now has four hits through his first nine major league at-bats.
The Phillies are off tomorrow before taking on the Mets in New York on Monday.