DENVER — A frustrating outing by starter Vince Velasquez wasn’t all that plagued the Phillies on Friday.
Outfielder Aaron Altherr aggravated his right hamstring and is headed for the 10-day disabled list. Again.
Altherr’s single in the seventh gave the Phillies a one-run lead in what became a 4-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies (see Instant Replay). Atherr played right field in the bottom of the inning but was double-switched out of the game in the eighth.
“He came in after the inning and said he didn’t like the way it felt,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “We’ll have a replacement tomorrow.”
Altherr was activated off the disabled list July 26 after missing 10 games with a right hamstring strain.
He broke a string of 13 hitless at-bats with a single in the sixth and finished 2 for 4.
Velasquez was coming off a sterling start Sunday against Atlanta when he tossed seven scoreless innings with two walks, six strikeouts and six hits allowed. He threw 108 pitches but got deep into the game, which wasn’t the case Friday.
“He was effectively wild,” Mackanin said. “Walked six players and didn’t issue many hits but sprayed the ball all over the place. I don’t think they felt comfortable against him.”
Velasquez threw 36 pitches (18 strikes) in the first when he walked the bases loaded and gave up one hit, Carlos Gonzalez’s two-run single on a grounder to right that found a hole in the Phillies’ shift.
Velasquez then threw four scoreless innings on 60 pitches and left after the fifth. He allowed just three hits and those two first-inning runs with a career-high six walks and four strikeouts.
“What we’re looking for from him is to throw 96 pitches in more innings,” Mackanin said. “That’s the next step for him. We need him to economize his pitches and get outs early in the count so that he can go deeper into the game.”
Velasquez said his tempo at the outset of the game was too quick, something he rectified after a visit from pitching coach Bob McClure during the prolonged first.
“It was just a bad tempo right from the get-go,” Velasquez said. “I could have gone out there an extra two more innings, possibly three more innings. I had extra pitches and walks, and it all added up. It was a snowball effect.”
In the first, Velasquez issued a leadoff walk to Charlie Blackmon but got DJ LeMahieu to ground out and struck out Nolan Arenado. Velasquez then issued back-to-back walks to Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds before Gonzalez singled.
“One, two — first out, second out was easy,” Velasquez said. “I just couldn’t close the deal.”