Final Score: Red Sox 4, Phillies 3
Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies were plagued by a brutal defensive showing. The defense wasn’t Garry Maddox-esque Saturday, but it didn’t cost them Game 2 of their weekend series with the Boston Red Sox.
No, tonight another issue that has followed the Phillies for much of the 2021 season hurt them dearly: strikeouts.
Phillies hitters struck out 13 times Saturday, including three more from Bryce Harper, who has struck out 10 times in his last four games. Harper struck out with bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, a non-competitive at-bat that lasted just three pitches. Two batters later, Brad Miller struck out to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Rhys Hoskins struck out with the game-tying run standing just 90 feet away.
In total, the Phillies were 0-7 with runners in scoring position Saturday, stranding 10 runners on base.
The Phillies fall to 22-24 on the season with the loss. They’ll send All-Star candidate Zack Wheeler to the mound Sunday, as they look to salvage the final game of their weekend series before hitting the road for nine games.
- Jean Segura doubled with one out in the bottom of the first inning, but the Phillies weren’t able to bring him around to score. Bryce Harper struck out, which Rhys Hoskins followed with walk. With two on and two outs, Brad Miller lined a ball into right field, but it hung up for J.D. Martinez to put away in right field. As Kevin Cooney of Philly Voice noted, the Phillies have driven Segura in just one time this season when he’s doubled, which he’s now done on seven occasions in 2021.
- After two excellent innings, Spencer Howard ran out of gas in the third inning, as evidenced by a velocity dip. Howard walked the opposing pitcher, Nathan Eovaldi, and allowed him to advance to second base on a wild pitch. Kiké Hernández walked as well, setting the stage for last night’s hero (or villain, depending on your perspective) Rafael Devers. Devers hit a ball into right field that Bryce Harper nearly got to. Instead, the ball dropped in right field, allowing Eovaldi to score and Hernández to advance to third base:
- J.D. Martinez walked to follow Devers’ RBI, bringing Xander Bogaerts to the plate. Howard did allow a sacrifice fly off the bat of Bogaerts, but escaped the inning without letting the game get out of hand.
- Brad Miller, starting over Alec Bohm at third base, tripled with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, and was plated by an Odúbel Herrera sacrifice fly to get the Phillies on the board.
- The Red Sox extended their lead in the top of the sixth inning when Xander Bogaerts and Danny Santana hit back-to-back solo home runs off of Sam Coonrod to start the frame:
- To their credit, the Phillies did cut into the Red Sox lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Rhys Hoskins hit his 100th career home run, a solo shot:
- The Phillies loaded up the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning, with Rafael Marchan singling to lead off the inning, followed by a Ronald Torreyes walk. After McCutchen struck out, Segura was hit by Phillips Valdéz, loading the bases. Red Sox manager Alex Cora brought in Darwinzon Hernández, who struck Harper out on three pitches. Hoskins was hit with the bases loaded, which brought home a third run, but a Miller strikeout kept the Phillies from a big inning.
- In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Phillies threatened, but weren’t ultimately able to extend the game. With runners on first and second base, Harper grounded into a fielder’s choice. Red Sox closer Matt Barnes struck out Hoskins to finish the game, stranding Torreyes at third base.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- Nathan Eovaldi, who the Phillies once wanted to be their closer, went 5 1/3 innings Saturday. The 31-year-old struck out four, while limiting the Phillies to five hits and two runs. Eovaldi entered the evening with a 4.50 ERA, but his 3.17 expected ERA and 2.17 FIP suggest he’s been especially unlucky. He wasn’t great Saturday, but we may have begun to see some positive regression.
- Spencer Howard was excellent for two innings, before a velocity drop really hurt the organization’s top prospect. Howard tossed three plus innings Saturday, but as Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia noted, he went from throwing 97.3 mph in the first inning to 90.4 mph late in his outing. Howard clearly possess excellent stuff, you just wonder if he wouldn’t be better served as a multi-inning reliever.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Sunday, May 23 vs. Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park
- 1:05 p.m. ET start time
- TV: NBCSP+, MLB Network (out of market)
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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