A day after gorging themselves on 16 hits, including six homers, and 12 runs in a Labor Day shutout of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Phillies looked like a completely different team Tuesday night.
Aaron Nola failed to shake his September demons, Ramon Rosso was terrible out of the bullpen, the offense was poor from start to finish and the defense left something to be desired once again, as well.
When the dust settled on the evening, the Phils were 10-0 losers to the Brewers just a day after routing them, 12-0.
The loss was costly for the Phillies as they lost ground to first-place Atlanta in the NL East. The Braves beat Washington in Atlanta. The Phils trail the Braves by 2 ½ games with 24 to play. The Phils entered the day two games back in the wild-card chase.
A day after their offensive eruption Monday, the Phillies were held to just five hits and all were singles. They had just one hit through the first five innings against Milwaukee lefty Eric Lauer.
Manager Joe Girardi stacked his lineup with right-handed bats – he even batted J.T. Realmuto leadoff – against Lauer. Lauer was unfazed. He pitched seven shutout innings. The Phillies are 20-25 against left-handed starters this season. They sure miss Rhys Hoskins’ right-handed presence.
“This is what we have,” Girardi said after the game. “We have to find a way to get it done with the guys we have. We can’t say, ‘If we had this guy,’ or, ‘If we had that guy.’ We don’t. We’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
Lauer scattered four singles, walked one and struck out five over his seven innings of work. He entered the game with a 3.26 ERA in 15 starts this season. Lauer came out of Kent State University and was a first-round pick (25th overall) of the Padres in 2016, the same draft in which the Phillies selected Mickey Moniak first overall.
Nola had a mixed-bag start for the Phillies. He pitched five walk-free innings and allowed just six hits. But five of those hits came in the third inning as the Brewers rallied for three runs. Nola just could not put the Brewers away in that inning. All five of the hits that he gave up in the frame came with two strikes. Three of the hits came on curveballs, one on a sinker and one on a changeup.
“I thought I made some OK pitches that inning, they just found holes,” Nola said. “That’s baseball. All season, for the most part, it’s been one inning (that’s hurt).”
The defense, a season-long weakness for this team, did not help Nola in the third inning. Shortstop Freddy Galvis did not make a play on what ended up as an infield hit by Lauer.
“He’s left some balls up with two strikes that have hurt him, but I thought he threw the ball all right tonight,” Girardi said of Nola. “We didn’t make a play in that inning and it leads to three runs. If we do, it’s two outs and nobody on and maybe it’s a totally different inning and he goes through six or seven tonight.”
Nola’s September struggles are well documented. Since 2019, he has an ERA of 5.38 in 13 September starts. The Phillies have won just three of those games. Nola has pitched nine innings and allowed nine runs in two starts this September.
Nola’s season ERA is up to 4.57. The Phils are just 13-15 in his 28 starts. They will have a difficult time catching the Braves if Nola doesn’t turn it around quickly. His next start is scheduled for Sunday against Colorado at home.
Milwaukee led 3-0 entering the sixth inning and built the lead to 6-0 when Rosso allowed three runs – all after a wild pitch on a two-out strikeout extended the inning. Rosso allowed two singles and two walks after that.
Kyle Gibson gets the ball in Wednesday night’s series finale. Freddy Peralta will start for Milwaukee.