Final Score: Braves 15, Phillies 3
There are two ways of looking at the Phillies’ recent struggles.
They are either not good enough for the front office to believe they have a playoff run in them or the Phillies can address their shortcomings at the deadline in preparation to challenge the Mets for the NL East title.
Either way, one of their shortcomings was on display Saturday night. Velasquez was pulled after 2 1/3 innings. It was his shortest outing since June 16, when he went 2 1/3 innings in a 15-1 loss to Atlanta. The poor outings for Velasquez keep piling on.
Freddie Freeman’s two-run home run in the first got the Braves’ onslaught started. It was his 30th career home run against the Phillies and it came on a pitch that Velasquez and Realmuto wanted to elevate.
“His command has not been good,” Joe Girardi said when asked about Velasquez’s outing. “His fastball location was not good tonight. His breaking ball location was not good tonight, especially to the left handers. It’s hard to pitch if you don’t locate the baseball and he has not been doing that as well as he was early on.”
The Phillies had a chance in the fourth to realistically get back in the game with the bases loaded and nobody out following three consecutive walks issued by Drew Smyly. Instead, Didi Gregorius grounded out softly to the mound for a 1-2-3 double play. Pinch-hitter Travis Jankowski flew out to left field to end the inning.
Joc Pederson, Dansby Swanson, Abraham Almonte and Ozzie Albies were among the other Braves hitters who had themselves a day at the plate. Albies’ three-run home run in the eighth led Girardi to put in a position player to pitch.
Ronald Torreyes gave the Phillies five outs while surrendering two home runs and four earned runs in the process. He threw 15 sliders, nine curveballs and five changeups with his fastest pitch registering at 74 mph.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Drew Smyly: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 72 pitches
Smyly was deceptive at times, generating five swing-and-misses in the first inning alone. He also struggled to throw strikes and was lucky to get out of the fourth inning unscathed after walking three consecutive hitters. At 72 pitches, Smyly was given the boot. Afterwards, the Braves announced that he was removed from the game due to left knee pain. Injury or not, it was probably the right time for Smyly to leave the game.
Vince Velasquez: 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 2 HRs, 53 pitches
Velasquez was given the early boot for a good reason. The Braves smacked him around early and with two runners in scoring position with one out in the third, Girardi opted to take Velasquez out and go to his pen early. The move didn’t work, but it’s hard to fault Girardi for making the switch.
“It’s a tough day from my end. It’s kind of embarrassing, to be honest with you,” Velasquez said. “But at the same time, I have to kind of accept it for what it is and move on. Get ready for the next start.”
Velasquez was frustrated about his early departure from the game.
“Only 53 pitches, I know I have more room to make those improvements and try to go as deep as I possibly can,” Velasquez said. “It kind of threw me off guard, being taken out early, but Joe made the decision.”
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
In the top of the fifth inning, Freeman’s 35 plate appearance streak without a swing-and-miss ended when Cristopher Sánchez threw a 95 mph sinker by the former National League MVP. It marked the end of an incredible run of dominance for one of the most talented hitters in the sport.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Sunday, July 25 vs. Braves at Citizens Bank Park
- 1:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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