Final Score: Rockies 5, Phillies 4
The Phillies had their chances to separate on Friday night. They didn’t come through, and it cost them.
Raimel Tapia made the Phillies pay with a walk-off solo home run against Héctor Neris to complete the comeback victory after once trailing 4-2 in the seventh. In a game started by Phillies sixth starter Vince Velasquez and Rockies ace German Márquez, the Phillies were in a good position to win before David Hale, Sam Coonrod and Neris teamed up for a backbreaking loss that felt like it was straight out of 2020.
The Phillies went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on the night, a recurring issue for the team in the early goings. That — coupled with the bullpen’s third blown lead in as many games — proved to be the difference, as they fell to 9-10 on the season.
- J.T. Realmuto hit somewhat of a typical Coors Field triple in the second inning, when a fly ball to right kept carrying until it bounced off the out-of-town scoreboard. A big kick off the wall and a misplay by Charlie Blackmon allowed Realmuto to get to third, and he scored on a Didi Gregorius groundout one batter later.
- Trevor Story cut the Phillies’ lead in half in the fourth inning with a solo home run to left. Story is an upcoming free agent, and if the Phillies go after a big-name shortstop, he could be a top target. Velasquez’ 1-1 offering actually would’ve been a ball, but Story and his quick hands were able to keep it fair by a pretty good margin:
- Two batters later, C.J. Cron erased the Phillies’ lead with a solo shot into the Rockies’ bullpen in right center field. It was part of a 29-pitch fourth inning for Velasquez, who made it through the first three on just 38 pitches. This pitch, well, would not have been a ball:
- Marquez avoided trouble in the top of the fifth, striking out Rhys Hoskins and inducing a Bryce Harper flyout after the Phillies put runners on the corners with one out. Marquez had walked Mickey Moniak and Velasquez to start the inning, but he was able to wiggle his way out of the jam.
- JoJo Romero allowed a two-out bloop double to Story in the fifth, but he got Blackmon swinging to strand the runner at second.
- Moniak had a chance to give the Phillies a sixth-inning lead after Nick Maton singled to put two men on with two out. Unfortunately for the Phillies, the righty struck out Moniak swinging on a slider, his 100th and final pitch of the game.
- Roman Quinn’s struggles at the plate are well documented, but when he gets to put his speed to use, it can change ballgames. Quinn, in the game after a double switch, lined a ball to right that’s a single for most Major Leaguers, but the speedy outfielder easily stretched it into a double then stole third two pitches later. Andrew McCutchen did the rest of the work with a sacrifice fly, putting the Phillies ahead 3-2 in the seventh.
- Rhys Hoskins stepped to the plate after the sac fly and promptly doubled the Phillies’ lead with a 439-foot shot to left center. Hoskins arguably benefitted the most from Marquez’s departure, as he had looked uncompetitive across three strikeouts prior to the big fly.
- Sam Coonrod escaped a seventh-inning jam by getting Story swinging on a 99-mph fastball, then retiring Blackmon on a foul pop-up that featured some nice glove work by Alec Bohm. Bohm pushed the netting back and used his 6-foot-5 frame to snag it, stranding on the corners and keeping the game at 4-3 after Coonrod had allowed an RBI single to Ryan McMahon.
- Maton hit a one-out double in eighth, but Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez retired Matt Joyce and Quinn to keep the deficit to one.
- A solo shot from Garrett Hampson off Coonrod tied the game at four with two outs in the eighth. Major League hitters will hit mistakes — no matter the velocity — and that’s exactly what Hampson did on this 97-mph belt-high sinker:
- Raimel Tapia called game against Neris with one out in the ninth, sending a hanging splitter just over the right-field wall for the victory.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Vince Velasquez: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 67 pitches
“Even four innings would be great. Just keep us in the game, Vinny.” Those were the words of Joe Girardi before the game, and Velasquez gave the Phillies those four innings, leaving in a 2-2 tie. He ran into some trouble in the fourth by surrendering the two home runs, but he worked out of a first-and-second, one-out jam to prevent further damage.
Velasquez got the ball in place of Matt Moore, who was placed on the IL Monday for “COVID reasons,” and situations like these are why the Phillies tendered him a one-year, $4 million contract in the offseason. Velasquez wasn’t dominant by any stretch of the imagination, but the Phillies will almost certainly take the performance he turned in on Friday, especially given the offense-happy nature of Coors Field.
German Marquez: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO, 100 pitches
Marquez was largely effective, navigating jams in the fourth, fifth and sixth to hold the Phillies to two runs. It could’ve been even better for the Rockies; he got a little unlucky when an Alec Bohm dribbler found its way past the pitcher’s mound to drive in a run in the fourth and make the score 2-0. Marquez kept the Phillies off balance when he needed to, often with his devastating knuckle-curve.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Raimel Tapia
Though it was certainly the biggest, Tapia’s home run wasn’t his only hit on the night. He went 3-for-5 on the evening, and his walk-off shot — his third homer of the season — gave the Phillies a disappointing loss to start the three-game series.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Saturday, April 24 vs. Colorado Rockies at 8:10 pm ET
- Coors Field
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- 94 WIP
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