The Phillies giveth and the Phillies taketh away. The same team that looked like they were finally shaking off the cobwebs with a nice 8-3 win on Friday fell flat on their faces on Saturday afternoon. As the Phillies have continued to do for most of their first 15 games of 2023, nothing went right in this one.
It all started to go sideways when the Phils wasted an early run-scoring opportunity. Bryson Stott extended his season-opening hitting streak to a franchise record-tying 15 games with a leadoff double. Trea Turner then walked to put two on with no one out. With a chance to strike first Kyle Schwarber popped out weakly to third base, Nick Castellanos struck out swinging and Brandon Marsh rolled one over to short. As has happened far too often this year, the Phillies bats went completely silent with runners in scoring position.
Matt Strahm took the hill for the Phillies, looking to build on two straight excellent outings to begin the year. Unfortunately, his command was nowhere to be found today as he looked to be battling a laceration on his left thumb. Strahm needed 67 pitches to work through only 2.2 innings, surrendering three earned runs on two hits and three walks. It was tough to watch the guy who performed so flawlessly in his first two outings flounder, but he just didn’t have it. Andrew Bellatti came on in the third with two on and two out and immediately gave up a three-run moonshot to Wil Myers, his second homer of the day.
It was elementary after Myers’ second dinger, as the Reds just kept pouring it on against a completely lifeless Phillies squad. Bellatti gave up another run, and rookie McKinley Moore continued to look overmatched in the big leagues, letting three more cross the plate on three hits and a walk.
Surprisingly, mop up man Andrew Vasquez continued his strong start to the season, punching out two in a scoreless frame. Gregory Soto pitched a perfect inning of his own, before infielder Josh Harrison was nominated as the sacrificial lamb in the ninth inning. Harrison was throwing batting practice, as Reds hitters teed off on sub-60 mile per hour lobs. All told, the 35-year-old surrendered five earned runs on six hits and a walk before the inning mercifully came to an end.
There weren’t many bright spots to pick out of this laugher. Alec Bohm continued his torrid start to the year, walking twice and singling in four plate appearances. Edmundo Sosa singled twice before being lifted with lower back spasms. Gregory Soto had a nice appearance, bringing hope that Dr. Jekyll can finally get his Mr. Hyde tendencies under control.
In all honesty though, it’s a reach to say that anything good came out of this game. In a season where the Phillies have disappointed night after night, they added another complete and utter stinker. The good news is we’re only 15 games into the season. That’s less than ten percent. However, this doesn’t look like a team that just needs a few tweaks to be right back to World Series form. This is a team that has a whole lot of work to do to contend for a championship.