Phillies

Best of luck to whichever pitcher Gabe Kapler tabs to face Dodgers on Saturday night

Best of luck to whichever pitcher Gabe Kapler tabs to face Dodgers on Saturday night

LOS ANGELES — Fifteen minutes after Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers ended, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler wasn’t sure who his starting pitcher for Saturday night’s game would be.

“There’s some conversations yet to be had about that,” Kapler said.

To whoever ends up getting the nod — good luck. The Dodgers are the best team in the National League on the stat sheet and they certainly met the eye test in scoring a 6-3 win over the Phillies in the first game of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium on Friday night (see observations).

Rookie lefty Cole Irvin and power-armed right-hander Vince Velasquez are the candidates to take on the Dodgers in place of injured Zach Eflin on Saturday night (see story).

Both watched as the Dodgers mauled Phillies starter Jake Arrieta for 10 hits, including three homers, and five runs on Friday night. All five runs came on homers.

“I think Jake missed with a couple of sliders and these are really good hitters and he got punished for those mistakes,” Kapler said. “This is a tremendous lineup and a good ballclub. It sucks to lose. At the same time, we understand that in order for us to beat clubs like this, we have to play our best baseball and we didn’t do that tonight.”

The Dodgers have the best record in the NL at 39-19. The Phillies have the second-best record in the NL at 33-24. But the gulf between the two teams looked bigger than that Friday night.

While the Dodgers clubbed 12 hits, including four homers, the Phillies stroked just five hits — four singles and a solo homer by Andrew McCutchen. The Phillies had just three hits through the first eight innings. Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda pitched six innings of two-run ball and gave up just three hits.

One of those hits was an RBI single to Arrieta in the fifth inning. It tied the game at 2-2. The game did not stay tied long. Arrieta gave up a homer to Joc Pederson leading off the bottom of the fifth. He then allowed a single to Max Muncy and a two-run homer to Corey Seager. Earlier in the game, Arrieta gave up a two-run shot to Muncy.

“The off-speed wasn’t very sharp tonight,” Arrieta said. “That’s why I gave up 10 hits, seven singles and the three homers. I just wasn’t very sharp with the slider, changeup or the curveball. They were able to eliminate too many pitches and they did some damage.”

Arrieta has allowed 12 homers this season, nine to lefty hitters. The Dodgers are loaded with left-handed thunder. Their first six hitters were lefty bats. All three homers against Arrieta were hit by lefty hitters.

“Not throwing great pitches when I’m trying to go inside deep,” Arrieta said. “I’m just leaving them over too much of the plate, really. That’s it. I can get lefties out. You can’t miss middle-in with spin to power-hitting left-handed hitters. You just can’t do it. That’s what I did too many times tonight.”

Entering the game, lefty hitters had an OPS of .865 against Arrieta. Righty hitters had an OPS of .598.

This series is being billed as a measuring stick for the Phillies, who have designs on breaking a seven-year playoff drought. But, remember, the calendar is only now turning to June. This Phillies team could undergo changes in the coming weeks. Certainly, the club could stand to beef up its starting pitching if it's going to go where it wants to.

“They’re a great team leading their division,” Arrieta said of the Dodgers. “We lead ours. Yeah, they’re really good. There’s no question about that. I had a chance to navigate through their lineup, pitch around some situations, just didn’t do a very good job. That’s all.”

Good luck to the guy whose job it will be to navigate the Dodgers’ lineup Saturday night.

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Dodgers 7, Phillies 2: Phillies wait out 3 hours of rain only to finish with 2 hits in lifeless loss to Dodgers

Dodgers 7, Phillies 2: Phillies wait out 3 hours of rain only to finish with 2 hits in lifeless loss to Dodgers

BOX SCORE

The Phillies and Dodgers waited out a rain delay of 2 hours and 37 minutes before finally resuming the top of the third inning Wednesday night.

And after the long, long, long wait ... the Phillies lost 7-2.

There wasn't much Phillies offense to speak of. They had two hits, one in the ninth inning. It probably should not have been a surprise that they couldn't muster more offense given their lineup. It was their least impressive batting order of the season, with Brad Miller, Adam Haseley, Nick Williams and Andrew Knapp occupying spots 5 through 8. Still ... two hits.

"Rain delays are always tough," said Scott Kingery, who had the Phillies' lone hit until the ninth. "Once you start the game, adrenaline's going and then you come back in here and sit around for a few hours. You've got to do the best you can to get it going again, get your body moving. ... Just a tough night."

David Freese had the key blow for the Dodgers, a two-run, opposite-field homer off Juan Nicasio in the seventh. It came two innings after a fan yelled "Freese, you look like my Uber driver," which was kind of funny. 

The Phillies had just tied the game the previous half-inning on a bases-loaded walk by Miller and an RBI groundout from Haseley. Both runs were unearned as the Phillies benefitted from Max Muncy's shaky defense at third base.

Justin Turner doubled the Dodgers' lead with a pinch-hit two-run home run off Austin Davis in the eighth.

Nick Pivetta started the game and allowed a first-inning run after walking the bases loaded. Control issues for Phillies pitchers didn't end there — they walked 10 Dodgers and hit two more on the night.

The Phillies (49-47) don't have much time to rest. Thursday's series finale — on YouTube only — begins at 12:35 p.m.

"I don't even think we have time to be disappointed," manager Gabe Kapler said. "We have to be back here pretty early in the morning with (Aaron) Nola on the mound and a rested bullpen in terms of our guys that we're leaning on in leverage innings.

"We feel good about tomorrow. Anxious to get back to the ballpark and wipe off tonight."

Can't find the zone

Reliever Edgar Garcia, who continues to struggle, has thrown a frustratingly low number of strikes lately. On Monday, he entered the game with the Phillies down by 11 runs and walked three batters. If ever there is a time to go right at hitters, it is then. 

On Wednesday, 15 of his 29 pitches were balls and he fell behind reliever Julio Urias before allowing an RBI single up the middle to him in the sixth inning.

Garcia is one of three Phillies relievers who probably shouldn't be in the major leagues right now but is here out of necessity. Outings like this do not inspire confidence. It wouldn't be surprising if the Phillies sent him down Thursday or Friday to bring up a fresh arm.

Garcia has a 6.15 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 27 appearances.

Segura returns

Jean Segura popped out as a pinch-hitter Wednesday night. He will be in Thursday's lineup after missing much of the last two games with a bruised heel.

Not a strong showing from Williams

In his first game back with the Phillies, Williams looked out of sorts at the plate, grounding out softly twice and expanding the zone multiple times in a strikeout against right-handed reliever Pedro Baez.

Williams had hit .345 at Triple A but just has not gotten going at the big-league level this season. He'll have an opportunity to play over the next few weeks with Jay Bruce on the injured list with a strained oblique.

Williams is behind Haseley on the outfield depth chart, though.

Up next

The four-game series concludes Thursday afternoon at 12:35, and then the Phillies hit the road for three games this weekend in Pittsburgh. They're off Monday, then play in two in Detroit before coming back to Philly for an eight-game homestand against the Braves, Giants and White Sox. 

Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.63) opposes Ross Stripling (4-3, 3.65) on Thursday.

Two young Phillies fans show their brotherly love at Citizens Bank Park

Two young Phillies fans show their brotherly love at Citizens Bank Park

A surprisingly large number of Phillies fans stuck around Wednesday night after a rain delay of 2 hours, 37 minutes.

The top of the fifth provided a nice moment in the stands, as one fan gave a foul ball to another and they hugged.

Chivalry isn't dead, even after a few frustrating nights against the Dodgers, oppressively hot conditions and hours of waiting around for the game to resume.

Be sure to watch the video above for a heartwarming moment.

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