Final Score: Braves 7, Phillies 2
In the bottom of the fifth inning of Thursday night’s loss to the division-rival Braves, starter Matt Moore came up to hit with a runner in scoring position. The Phillies were down six runs. Fans booed. The runner on second didn’t score that inning. They are 12-for-62 with runners in scoring position since the All-Star Break.
For the first time this season, Moore pitched into the sixth inning as a starter. It wasn’t because he was effective. The plan was to have Moore pitch as many innings as need be. Spencer Howard and Connor Brogdon were the only arms unavailable to Joe Girardi, according to his bullpen usage rules. Howard and Brogdon both threw multiple innings on Wednesday. It’s the game the Phillies have to play with 24 games in 24 days and multiple arms missing time on the COVID-IL.
“Just the way we’ve had to use our bullpen the last couple of days, we had to push [Moore],” Girardi said.
The game got off to a horrifying start and it didn’t get much better. Odúbel Herrera missed a short fly ball from Freddie Freeman in left field that wasn’t an easy play. He bobbled the hop and casually threw the ball towards the infield. The speedy Ozzie Albies took advantage and went for home. There was a play at the plate, but Andrew Knapp bobbled the throw from Jean Segura. Freeman advanced to second. None of the defenders involved were charged with an error. Girardi would have liked Herrera to throw the ball to the cutoff man Torreyes.
“If you come out and throw it to Torreyes, everything stops,” Girardi explained. “When you throw it to the base like [Herrera] does, you take the risk of it getting by Segura, short-hopping Segura, there’s a lot of risk involved for that guy scoring.”
It’s exactly what fans expect from their 2021 Phillies and a lesson in the futility of fielding percentage as a means of measuring defensive competence.
But things got much worse for the Phillies in the third. Dansby Swanson, who had one hit in his last 18 at-bats, crushed his first career grand slam. It was the 50th home run the Phillies have allowed this season with two outs, which is the third most in MLB. The pitching staff has a 4.01 ERA with two outs this season, which is the worst mark in MLB by far.
“That’s the difference between this game being a good one for us and this one not being a good one,” Moore said when asked about the third inning. “Being able to work out of that right there, even if I did give up a home run later on in the game, it’s still two runs right there. I like our chances with our team.”
The Phillies offense finally responded in the seventh with two runs to cut the lead to four. With runners on first and second and no outs, Knapp laid down an unsuccessful bunt as Herrera was ruled out at third. Maybe things would have turned out differently if the Phillies decided against giving away an out.
Girardi said after the game that Knapp bunted on his own.
Not much happened afterwards. Mauricio Llovera was tasked with eating innings at the back end. He walked in a run in the ninth.
The Phillies are under .500 again with a 47-48 record.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Charlie Morton: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO, 102 pitches
At times, Morton’s offspeed pitches looked unhittable. He also had some struggles with command, but overall, the former Phillie did a good job at holding the lead for the six innings he was out there. The 37-year-old could be on the move in the next week or so if the Braves decide to sell, but since the NL East is still in play for Atlanta, it wouldn’t be surprising if they hold onto him.
Matt Moore: 6 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 2 HR, 96 pitches
Moore topped his season high in pitches thrown in a start by 16. Like many Phillies outings this season, the story could have been much different if he was able to get one more out against either Riley or Swanson in the third. His ERA this season now sits at 5.79. It’s the first Phillies loss in a start from Moore since April 17.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
This isn’t informative at all, but everyone should know that someone in Indiana bet $50,000 for a Phillies victory tonight.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Friday, July 23 vs. Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park
- 7:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- ‘Man I Throw Hay Bales On A Trailer’: Christian McGowan Comes From Small Town To Phillies
- Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Cole Hamels’ Showcase
- Report: Phillies Would Be Interested In Byron Buxton If Made Available
- Phillies 8th Rounder Jason Ruffcorn Brings ‘Signature’ Look In Relief
- Report: 9-Inning Doubleheaders Could Return In 2022
- Brian Barber On Mick Abel: ‘He’s Exactly What We Thought He Was Going To Be’
- Brad Miller On Zack Wheeler: ‘It’s Cy Young, MVP – It’s All Of It’
- Exec On Gabe Kapler: ‘He Learned A Lot Of Lessons’ From Time With Phillies
- Sinclair Broadcast Group Makes Bid To Buy NBC Sports Philadelphia, Other Local Networks
- Phillies 2021 Walk-Up Songs