Phillies

Nationals 15, Phillies 1: Nick Pivetta struggles and Phillies' offense silenced

Nationals 15, Phillies 1: Nick Pivetta struggles and Phillies' offense silenced

BOX SCORE 

The Phillies have hit their first rough patch of the new season. They were blown out, 15-1, by the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

The Phils have lost two in a row for the first time this season and have been outscored 24-1 over the last 14 innings. Ouch.

The Phils, who blew a 6-1 lead in a 10-inning loss to Washington on Tuesday night, were never in this one. Starting pitcher Nick Pivetta was tagged for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Things got so bad for the Phillies that reserve outfielder Aaron Altherr had to pitch the ninth. He allowed a run but struck out two, flashing an 89-mph fastball.

Washington starter Jeremy Hellickson held his former club to three singles over six innings to get the win.

The Phillies are 7-4.

Washington is 6-5. The Nats have taken three of five from the Phillies this season.

The keys

• It was clear that Pivetta was in for a rough night when he needed 39 pitches to complete the first inning.

• Pivetta walked a batter with two outs in the fourth inning then gave up an infield hit to load the bases. Anthony Rendon then cleared them with a three-run double as the Nats took a 6-0 lead. Rendon is 8 for 15 with nine RBIs in his career against Pivetta.

• The Phillies’ offense was anemic. They were out-hit, 17-3.

Pivetta’s night

It was not good. He allowed seven hits and walked three. He threw 94 pitches and failed to get out of the fourth.

Much is expected from the 26-year-old right-hander this season, but so far little has been delivered. In three starts, he has been tagged for 24 hits and 14 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings. His ERA is 9.45.

Pivetta’s struggles go back to last season. He has an ERA of 6.16 in 19 starts since June 29 and he’s averaged less than five innings.

Pivetta was originally drafted by the Nationals and traded to the Phillies for Jonathan Papelbon. He is 1-5 with a 10.93 ERA in six games, five starts, against Washington.

Sights and sounds

Pivetta walked off the mound in the fourth inning to a fair of amount of boos.

Up next

The Phillies are off on Thursday. They travel to Miami for a three-game series against the rebuilding Marlins on Friday night. The Marlins are 3-9. General manager Matt Klentak warned that the Phils must approach the series with some urgency.

“I think this weekend is a little bit of a trap series for us,” he said. “I think the environment will be a little bit different and I think we really need to make sure we keep our same level of focus.”

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizes counterfeit Bryce Harper jerseys, issues warning

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizes counterfeit Bryce Harper jerseys, issues warning

Busted.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Philadelphia have announced they’ve seized 314 counterfeit Bryce Harper jerseys, which, if sold at their full price, would total more than $44,000. Let’s be real, though, these were probably listed for $20 apiece online.

The press release says that six shipments of Harper — or perhaps a few said Haprer or Harpr —  jerseys were en route from Hong Kong to addresses in the tri-state area.

Am I shocked? Of course not. Harper jerseys are the hottest item in Philadelphia fashion this spring and were bought, legally, in record numbers when the then-free agent signed his mega contract. There are, however, a few things to consider here.

The first, which I actually didn’t know, is that the CBP warns against “dangerously flammable textiles” being used in counterfeit jerseys. That’s kind of a surprise and perhaps cause for concern.

The other is that Harper signed a 13-year deal, so a nice, legitimate jersey is actually a decent investment over a jersey that looks OK but may fall apart after a few spins in the washing machine. You want something to stand the test of time, that you can wear for more than a decade, so spending money up front on a jersey for a guy that’ll be here for a while isn’t actually a bad idea.

If you’re reading this and the tracking on your Harper jersey suddenly stopped, you might be out of luck. If you’re reading this and you’ve already bought a counterfeit jersey, stay clear of the grill this summer.

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The super-sub portion of Scott Kingery's career is coming into focus

The super-sub portion of Scott Kingery's career is coming into focus

DENVER — Scott Kingery made his third straight start at shortstop for the Phillies on Friday night. He has been filling in for Jean Segura, who has been nursing a minor hamstring injury.

“My inclination, though I’m not swearing by it, is to start Scott again [Saturday night] at shortstop,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’re potentially targeting Sunday as a day to get Jean back in the lineup.”

Once Segura is ready, he will get most of the reps at shortstop. The Phillies didn’t trade for him so he could split time.

So what happens with Kingery, who has swung the bat very well in limited time this season?

Kapler indicated that Kingery would fill the super-utility role that the organization envisioned when it signed him to a six-year, $24 million contract in the spring of 2018.

“I think there’s more of a need to get him in the lineup because of how well he’s performing,” Kapler said. “It’s less of a ‘let’s get him reps to keep him fresh thing,’ and more of a, ‘this helps us win thing.’

“His reps could come at shortstop here and there. They could come in the outfield here and there. He certainly has emerged as an option at second and third base.”

Kingery played some outfield at the University of Arizona and he’s played some in spring training. He played briefly in all three outfield spots for the Phils last season and picked up a few innings in left field earlier this season.

Kapler has talked a lot in recent days about using Kingery in center field at times. With Odubel Herrera on the disabled list with a sore hamstring for at least another nine days, it would not be surprising to see Kingery get a start at the position sometime next week. Roman Quinn seemingly will get most of the playing time in center while Herrera is out, but Kapler has indicated that Quinn will not get all the time there.

During batting practice on Thursday, Kapler reminded Kingery to keep up on his pre-game work in center field. That would seem to support the idea that Kingery will get a look there soon.

Clearly the Phillies want to see Kingery play center field because they believe his versatility is valuable and it presents a way to get his bat in the lineup while giving other players rest. (It also doesn’t hurt to have both him and Quinn putting some heat on Herrera.) But it’s also possible that the Phils want to gauge Kingery’s ability to play center field because they will have to make a roster move when Herrera is ready to return. One possibility is trading Aaron Altherr. If he goes, the Phillies would lose some center field depth.

Kingery made significant strides defensively at shortstop last season. Kapler believes he has the same potential for growth in center field.

“I think I can comfortably say that he will go out in center field and immediately play average to above average center field simply because of his athleticism and speed,” Kapler said.

Kingery entered Friday night hitting .414 (12 for 29) with four doubles, two homers and a 1.227 OPS. As a rookie last year, Kingery hit just .226 with a .605 OPS. He has credited his improvement to gaining experience, taking some of the lift out of his swing — in his words, “flattening” it — and being more aggressive early in the count.

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