The Phillies continued to play their way out of National League wild-card picture on Sunday. They dropped a 6-3 decision to the Boston Red Sox, who completed a two-game interleague series sweep at Citizens Bank Park.
The loss dropped the Phillies to four games out of the second wild-card spot and they could be 4 ½ games out by the end of the day, depending on the outcome of the Chicago Cubs-Pittsburgh Pirates game in Chicago.
The Phils have just 14 games left.
Christian Vazquez paced Boston’s offense with a grand slam against starter Jason Vargas in the third inning.
The Phillies did not get much offense in the two-game series. They scored just four runs. (They lost Saturday night’s game, 2-1.) They had just 12 hits and only two of them were for extra bases. (Rhys Hoskins had them both, a double Saturday night and a homer Sunday.)
Phillies hitters also struck out 25 times in the two games.
For the second straight start, Vargas lasted just three innings. He hit a batter, gave up a single and a one-out walk before serving up the grand slam to Vazquez in the third. Vargas also made a throwing error that led to a run in the first inning.
The left-hander is not exactly providing a lift down the stretch. He has a 7.63 ERA in his last four starts and the Phillies have lost three of those games.
Bryce Harper was ejected in the fourth inning for giving home plate umpire Gabe Morales an earful from the dugout. Moments earlier, Morales had rung up Harper on a pitch outside the strike zone. He also missed a pitch in Harper’s first at-bat. Manager Gabe Kapler was also ejected after he came out of the dugout to protest Harper’s ejection. It was believed to be the first time in major-league history that a guy named Gabe ejected another guy named Gabe.
Harper’s second ejection of the season meant the Phillies were forced to play the remainder of the game without one of their top players, never a good thing with the season on the line — at least mathematically.
Harper was replaced in right field by September call-up Jose Pirela. Not long ago, the Phillies likely would have replaced Harper with Nick Williams. But Williams is hitting .157 and is buried so deeply on the bench it makes you wonder why he was added in September.
Dickerson still sore
Corey Dickerson was out of the starting lineup for a third straight game because of a sore left foot. Brad Miller got the start in left field. The Phillies have missed Dickerson’s bat. Added at the trade deadline, he drove in 34 runs in his first 33 games with the club.
A little too hospitable
The Phillies are just 11-21 all-time against the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park.
On the bright side, the Phils are 11-20 all-time at Fenway Park.
Wait a minute. There’s nothing bright about that.
The Phillies are 76-72. They need to win six of their final 14 games to have a winning season.
The Phillies are off on Monday. They open a three-game series in Atlanta against the Braves on Tuesday night.
Tuesday night — RHP Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.95) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (8-5, 3.35)
Wednesday night — RHP Zach Eflin (8-12, 4.20) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (10-9, 3.50)
Thursday afternoon — RHP Aaron Nola (12-5, 3.62) vs. RHP Mike Soroka (12-4, 2.47)
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