In a game that quickly turned from a pitchers duel into a slug-fest, a bullpen implosion by the Phillies led to an 11-5 loss to the Mets. The Phillies (69-64) now sit three-and-a-half games behind the Cubs for the second NL Wild Card spot.
For the first six innings of this game, this one was a back and forth battle between starting pitchers Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler. The Phillies struck first in the bottom of the fifth, taking a 1-0 lead on a J.T. Realmuto sac-fly that scored Adam Haseley. The offense threatened to score more, but the inning ended on a J.D. Davis outfield assist that nailed Corey Dickerson at the plate and kept the Phillies lead at one.
Nola was absolutely dominant for the first six innings of this game. He allowed only three baserunners and struck out seven, dominating the Mets lineup. The seventh inning was different, though. Nola loaded the bases on a walk, a hit, and a hit by pitch, and the Mets subsequently tied the game on a Wilson Ramos single. Jose Alvarez came in with one out and escaped the jam with no further damage, but the late-inning struggles continued a troubling trend for Nola in 2019:
Maybe the biggest difference between Aaron Nola in 2018 and Aaron Nola in 2019 is his effectiveness late in games.
Nola after the 5th inning in 2018: 48 IP, 2.44 ERA
Nola after the 5th inning in 2019: 35.1 IP, 6.37 ERA
— Jonny Heller (@jonnyheller) August 31, 2019
After Alvarez escaped the bases loaded jam in the seventh, things got away from the Phillies bullpen. Mike Morin came in to pitch the eight and quickly loaded the bases before allowing a go ahead two-run single to Amed Rosario. Morin was then replaced by Jared Hughes, who immediately served up a three-run home run to Todd Frazier that gave the Mets a 6-1 lead. In the top of the ninth, Edgar Garcia allowed a two-run home run to Michael Conforto before giving up a three-run home run to Frazier, his second in two innings.
Meanwhile, the Phillies offense went quiet again. They were unable to score Jean Segura in the sixth after he reached on a lead off double, and were shut down 1-2-3 by the Mets bullpen in the seventh and eighth. They were able to string together some hits in the ninth to score four runs, but it was far too little, too late.
This kind of game felt inevitable. The Phillies bullpen has been devastated by injuries to Daniel Robertson, Seranthony Dominguez, Tommy Hunter, and Pat Neshek, but Matt Klentak’s patch-job has somehow held up during the month of August. However, tonight was different. Morin and Hughes were the team’s best options in the 8th-inning of a close game, and they couldn’t come through.
The Phillies have now lost two consecutive games started by their ace Aaron Nola, which is unacceptable for a team in the thick of the playoff race. And with the Cubs suddenly catching fire, the Phillies need to start winning games at a higher pace before they fade out of it.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Todd Frazier
- Frazier was 0-2 in his first two at bats, but made an impact in each of the last three innings. In the seventh, his hit by pitch loaded the bases before the Mets tied the game. And in the eight and ninth innings, he hit two three-run homeruns to give himself six RBI on the night, tying a career high.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- Despite the seventh inning struggles, Aaron Nola was really good tonight. He put the Phillies in great position to win the game, but the bullpen and offense let him down. The game had a disappointing ending, but it brought Aaron Nola’s best month of the season to an end: https://twitter.com/jonnyheller/status/1167612472154578944?s=20
- Zach Wheeler shut down a red hot Phillies offense that had just come off of three games of punishing the Pirates pitching staff. He kept the Phillies off balance all night, scattering seven hits but allowing just the one run in six innings.
TicketIQ Next Game
- Aug. 31th at Citizens Bank Park vs. New York Mets
- 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia, FS1
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)
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