The Phillies' pitching staff beyond Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler is a disaster. It doesn't matter how big a lead the Phillies' offense builds or how comfortable a game should be, the implosions keep happening.
The Phillies sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs against the Blue Jays in Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader. Vince Velasquez immediately gave two back in the bottom of the first but then actually did settle in. The Phillies opened the sixth inning with a five-run lead but Velasquez, Connor Brogdon, Hector Neris and the Phillies' defense gave it all away. Toronto scored seven times, aided by Didi Gregorius' two-out error which should have ended the inning.
With the Phillies down to their last out, Alec Bohm doubled and J.T. Realmuto singled to make it a one-run game, but Roman Quinn stranded runners on the corners to end it.
The Phils lost 9-8. They were swept in the doubleheader by the Blue Jays and are 1-5 in their three doubleheaders.
They lost earlier in the day on another blown lead.
The Phillies are 0-9 this season when scoring fewer than five runs and games like this help explain why. Their pitching staff just does not have enough stuff to consistently get through games when they don't have the luxury of Nola or Wheeler for seven.
Huge first inning
The biggest hit in the opening frame was Andrew McCutchen's bases-clearing double.
McCutchen, who had two hits in the inning, has come around since a slow handful of games to start the season. He's hit .318 and driven in 12 runs over his last 12 games, again giving the Phillies a potent leadoff threat with plate selection and pop.
The Phillies went 3 for 22 with runners in scoring position in their opening series against the Marlins. Since then, they've hit .296 with a .915 OPS with RISP.
They went 4 for 6 with runners in scoring position in that big first inning.
Mixed bag for Velasquez
Velasquez was bad early, bad late, but in between retired 12 of 13. His fastball averaged just a tick under 95 mph and he struck out seven, but the Phillies needed a few more outs than he was able to provide.
Velasquez has gone 13 straight starts without completing six innings.
The Phillies head to Atlanta to begin a stretch of 17 straight games against NL East teams. They have three in Atlanta, an off-day Monday and three in D.C. before coming back home to host the Braves.
Here are the pitching probables for this weekend's series (all games at 7:10 p.m.):
Friday — Aaron Nola (2-1, 2.05) vs. LHP Max Fried (3-0, 1.24)
Saturday — Zack Wheeler (3-0, 2.81) vs. LHP Robbie Erlin (0-0, 5.40)
Sunday — Zach Eflin (0-1, 5.14) vs. Josh Tomlin (1-0, 2.35)