Final Score: Red Sox 11, Phillies 3
Earlier this week, we suggested that the Philadelphia Phillies will have to consider major defensive alignment changes after the 2021 season.
Of course, it’s not as though the 2021 season is winding down. And in addition to offensive inconsistencies and concerns about starting rotation depth, the Phillies appear to have a fatal flaw: they are a downright bad defensive baseball team.
For the second consecutive night, Alec Bohm struggled mightily at third base, leaving you to wonder whether the Phillies can wait until the DH – likely – returns in 2022 to move him to a different position defensively. As Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer noted, Bohm now has seven errors (two of which came Friday), which puts him in a tie for the Major League lead among third basemen.
Truly, though, Bohm’s defensive struggles were just the most notable Friday, but they were far from the only questionable plays from the Phillies in the field. Increasingly, you’re left to wonder whether this team can realistically contend in 2021, especially if one or two teams in the National League East heat up.
- The Red Sox took the lead in the top of the first when Xander Bogaerts chopped a ball off the plate, allowing Alex Verdugo to score from first base and J.D. Martinez to advance to second as Rhys Hoskins made the only play he could – to step on first.
- Boston’s next batter, Rafael Devers, nearly hit a two-run home run to the opposite field, but instead had to settle for an RBI double off of the left field wall to give his team a 2-0 lead.
- The Phillies were able to pull even in the bottom of the third inning, when Jean Segura followed up an Andrew McCutchen double with his longest home run in red pinstripes yet:
- A Danny Santana 374-foot solo home run in the top of the fifth inning allowed the Red Sox to retake the lead. This was the type of home run that you didn’t need to see – only hear the sound – to know it was long gone:
- Later on in the top of the fifth inning, Bogaerts delivered a two-out single into left field with Verdugo on second base and Martinez on first base. Andrew McCutchen came up throwing, but rather than take the chance on the play at home, Alec Bohm cut the ball off. Certainly, there’s a case to be made that Bohm shouldn’t have cut the ball off at all, but he seemingly had Martinez dead to rights at second base. Instead, he hesitated and when he did throw it, it was wide of Segura. Martinez would score, and Bogaerts reached third base on one of the ugliest plays you’ll ever see:
- Connor Brogdon replaced Nola in the top of the sixth, but wasn’t able to stop the bleeding. Christian Vázquez scored on an RBI single by Hunter Renfroe (the outfielder, not the wide receiver). Renfroe advanced to second after the ball was bungled in left field by McCutchen.
- Bohm and Segura did begin to partially make up for their defensive mistake earlier in the game in the bottom of the sixth, when the former brought the latter home with an RBI single, cutting the Red Sox lead to three.
- Whatever momentum that Bohm had from his RBI didn’t carry out to the field, though, as the 24-year-old’s throw pulled Rhys Hoskins off the bag at first base on what should have been a relatively easy putout off the bat of Kiké Hernández. Instead, Hernández reached base and was later brought home on a 387-foot bomb by Devers:
- Vince Velasquez and Chase Anderson finished out the game for the Phillies, a pretty surprising development when you consider what’s in store for the Phillies in the coming days. Tomorrow, Spencer Howard will start, and the maximum amount of pitches he’ll be able to throw is 60. The thought was that Anderson may relieve him for a few innings, but that’s now probably off the table. Velasquez was scratched from his start Thursday night with numbness in his right index finger, but is still slated to start next Tuesday in Miami.
- We should note that while Velasquez pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, Anderson didn’t fare as well. The veteran right hander allowed a bases-clearing double into the right field corner off the bat of Vázquez, allowing the Red Sox to extend their lead to 11-3. Seemingly, it was a ball that Harper could have caught:
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- Martín Pérez didn’t pitch like Pedro Martinez Friday, but he didn’t need to. The 30-year-old southpaw struck out seven Phillies batters over six innings, limiting them to five hits and three runs.
- Aaron Nola continued what’s been an underwhelming month of May, allowing seven hits and five runs (four of which were earned), in five innings. In four starts this month, Nola has a 5.40 ERA, with the Phillies having lost three consecutive starts by the former All-Star.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Rafael Devers
FanGraphs graded Devers as the 13th most valuable offensive player in 2019, which made it surprising when the third baseman slashed just .265/.310/.483 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. However, the 24-year-old has bounced back in a manner that may earn him a trip to the All-Star Game in July, as evidenced by a big night Friday. Devers went 2-4 with a home run and three RBIs, missing out on a two-home run night by just a few feet.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Saturday, May 22 vs. Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park
- 7:15 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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