What even was that?
In a series they needed to win to have a realistic chance of catching the Braves in the division, the Phillies have failed to show up two nights in a row. After losing 9-2 on Friday, Saturday night was somehow even worse.
The Phillies found themselves down by 10 runs through three innings and lost 15-7 in front of a near-sellout crowd.
It was a truly pathetic performance in all phases. Starting pitcher Zach Eflin allowed 10 runs, six earned, and failed to make it out of the third inning.
Offensively, the Phillies were no match for even a depleted Braves lineup missing Nick Markakis, Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley. The Phils scored six of their seven runs after they had already fallen behind by 13.
And defensively, the Phillies gifted the Braves as many as six runs in their seven-run third inning. Catcher Tyler Flowers hit a double-play ball to Jean Segura, who flubbed the underhand throw to second base. Instead of getting two outs on the play, the Phillies got none. The next batter, Ender Inciarte, hit a ground ball to first base that Rhys Hoskins dove too early to reach, resulting in an infield single.
The Braves have outscored the Phillies 60-20 over their last six meetings. That is an average score of 10-3 per game.
The Phillies are 54-50 and can finish the series no better than 6½ games back in the NL East.
What now with Eflin?
The Phillies have so few legitimate options in the starting rotation that they're having Jake Arrieta pitch through a painful bone spur in his right elbow. So even with Eflin's horrid recent performance, his rotation spot probably is not in jeopardy.
Eflin has allowed 32 runs in his last 26⅔ innings. His ERA over that span has ballooned from 2.83 to 4.63. That is no easy task this far into the season.
The Phillies need 80 percent of a starting rotation. They have Aaron Nola and four coin-flips, and even that feels generous to write.
It's just not possible to land three or four decent starting pitchers and two good relievers at the trade deadline without parting with promising young players. Thus, buying big at the trade deadline makes little sense at this point for the Phils.
Ominous injury update
There was a belief that David Robertson, who had been facing hitters in Florida, could soon begin a rehab assignment. But as of now, that plan appears to be tabled.
"He is progressing, just still not progressing as fast as we all had hoped he would," Gabe Kapler said prior to Saturday's game.
What does it mean? Hard to say as of now. The word setback was not used, but it's fair to wonder whether the Phillies will actually see Robertson return in August.
What a disastrous year it's been for the Phillies' bullpen — long-term injuries to five of their top six relievers in Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, Seranthony Dominguez and Victor Arano.
The best part of the night was the music. The Phillies wore all burgundy uniforms for the first time since 1979 and played '70s music all night. At least the embarrassing loss sounded good.
The Phillies acquired utilityman Jose Pirela from the Padres Saturday. More here on why they made the trade.
The series ends Sunday afternoon at 1:05 when Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.64) opposes Kevin Gausman (3-5, 5.71).
Gausman returned last Sunday from a six-week stay on the injured list and pitched well against the Nationals, allowing one run over seven innings while striking out eight.
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