Phillies

Diamondbacks 8, Phillies 4: Bad bullpen, bad in clutch spots, bad loss

Diamondbacks 8, Phillies 4: Bad bullpen, bad in clutch spots, bad loss

BOX SCORE

PHOENIX — Poor relief pitching and missed opportunities at the plate cost the Phillies dearly in a 8-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

The Phillies carried a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning, but relievers Ranger Suarez, Blake Parker and Zach Eflin were tagged for a combined six runs — three on homers — over three innings as the lead got away.

Corey Dickerson led off the game with a solo homer for the Phillies and rookie Adam Haseley had three hits and two RBIs. Otherwise, the offense did not do enough. The Phillies had just one hit in their first 12 chances with a runner in scoring position — they finished 2 for 17 — and they left 12 men on base.

This has been a big problem for the Phils recently. Over the weekend, they lost two of three to the White Sox. They went 5 for 26 with runners in scoring position in the series and left 27 men on base.

The Phils are 59-54. They currently hold the second spot in a tight NL wild-card race. Washington leads the wild-card race.

Arrieta’s night

Jake Arrieta continues to pitch with a bone spur in his elbow. The issue has turned him into a five-inning pitcher. He has averaged just 4 2/3 innings in his last six starts.

Arrieta got through five in this one and left with a 3-2 lead, thanks to some help from Bryce Harper in right field. Arrieta allowed five hits, one of which was a two-run homer. He walked two and struck out five.

Defense saves

Arrieta allowed a game-tying two-run homer to Eduardo Escobar in the fourth. The Phillies got the lead back in the fifth on a double by Rhys Hoskins, which was followed by an Arizona error that led to a run.

Arrieta pitched into trouble in the bottom of the fifth inning as Arizona put runners on second and third with one out and its two best hitters due up. Arrieta was able to get out of trouble thanks to Harper’s long run and diving catch on a pop up to shallow right by Ketel Marte. Arrieta then got the third out when Escobar popped out on the first pitch.

Bullpen blues

With Arrieta unable to pitch deep into games, the Phillies had to go to the bullpen with a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth. Suarez was the first man up and he had trouble throwing strikes. He allowed a one-out single, then walked two men to load the bases before falling behind Alex Avila and giving up a two-run single to right that put Arizona up by a run. Fourteen of the 25 pitches that Suarez threw were balls. Not good.

Big missed chance

The Phillies squandered several good scoring chances en route to leaving 10 men on base. Most damaging was the top of the sixth when they had the bases loaded, one out and Hoskins and Harper due up. Arizona lefty Andrew Chafin struck out both of them to get out of the jam and the D-backs pulled away against the Phillies’ bullpen after that.

Up next

Jason Vargas makes his second Phillies start in the series finale Wednesday night. He will pitch against Arizona’s Zac Gallen, a South Jersey native who pitched his high school ball at Bishop Eustace. Gallen went 1-3 with a 2.72 ERA for the Miami Marlins this season. He was traded to the Diamondbacks last week and will be making his debut with the club.

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

Most of the baseball world agrees that the Phillies are improved with the additions of No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler, shortstop Didi Gregorius, and the new contingent of manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Bryan Price and hitting coach Joe Dillon.

The question is how much improved?

The Phils won 81 games last season, a year after winning 80. Both years, they totally collapsed in September. Both years, a good number of players were simply playing out the string, though the effort level was more questionable in 2018 than in 2019.

Even though the Phillies were quiet this offseason after their two big signings, and even though the NL East is still a beast, they should still exceed 81 wins. If they don't, there's a serious problem. If they don't, the GM probably won't be here to try to rectify things next offseason.

The over/under win totals are out and the Phillies' number is 85.5 at FanDuel and 84.5 at DraftKings.

I'd go over at 84.5. Think about how many injuries the Phillies suffered last season. Think about the talent gap between Wheeler and every Phillies starting pitcher behind Aaron Nola last season. The impact of Girardi, Price and Dillon won't be all that quantifiable, but it is realistic that this revamped coaching staff can conjure a few more wins out of the 2020 Phillies, whether it's in-game decision-making or better instructions given to young players who underperformed last season.

At DraftKings, the Mets' over/under is a game better than the Phillies' at 85.5. The Braves are at 90.5 and the Nationals 88.5. The Marlins are at 64.5, higher than only one team, the Tigers.

Much more surprising are the Phillies' World Series odds. They have the sixth-shortest odds to win it all. Seriously. They're +1800. Here is the Top 10:

Yankees: 3.5/1
Dodgers: 5/1
Astros: 6/1
Braves: 11/1
Nationals: 14/1
Phillies: 18/1
Mets: 20/1
Twins: 20/1
Red Sox: 22/1
Cubs: 22/1

Apparently, the expectation is that the NL Central will be bringing up the rear in 2020. Really, the only NL Central team that improved was the Reds. The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna, the Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal and the Cubs didn't spend money on a single major-league free agent.

Four of the top seven teams being NL East teams just shows you how much of a battle these next seven months will be for the Phils.

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Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Baseball America’s always interesting Top 100 Prospects list landed this week and the Phillies are represented with two players in the top half.

Starting pitcher Spencer Howard ranks 27th on the list and third baseman Alec Bohm 28th. Both players are projected to open the coming season at Triple A and get to the majors at some point in 2020. Both have been invited to major-league spring training camp, which begins in less than three weeks in Clearwater. See the complete list of Phillies’ in-house non-roster invites here.

Howard, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2017. We profiled him here.

In its story on the Top 100 prospects, Baseball America offered this take on Howard: Triple-digit fastball, swing-and-miss curveball and the ability to work the edges of the strike zone, Howard flashes front-end potential.

Bohm, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and a .896 OPS at three levels, including Double A in 2019. We profiled him here.

Baseball America offered this take on Bohm: Even with questions about whether he’ll have to move to first base, Bohm has the feel to hit and plus power to hit in the middle of the Phillies’ order, and soon.

Shortstop Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays was ranked No. 1 on Baseball America’s list for the second year in a row. The Rays placed eight players on the list. Because of a loaded farm system, the Rays were unable to protect left-hander Cristopher Sanchez on their 40-man roster and the Phillies traded for him in November. Read about Sanchez here.

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed seven players on the list and the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres had six each.

The Miami Marlins led National League East teams with five players in the Top 100, including former Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, who was traded for J.T. Realmuto a year ago. Sanchez ranks 16th on the list and is projected to arrive in the majors sometime in 2020.

The Atlanta Braves placed four players on the list and the Washington Nationals and New York Mets joined the Phillies with two players.

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