Phillies lose Bryce Harper and lose another one late — 5 takeaways from series opener vs. Mets

Phillies lose Bryce Harper and lose another one late — 5 takeaways from series opener vs. Mets


NEW YORK — The Phillies lost Bryce Harper early on Friday night and made an unexpected comeback six innings later, only to fall to the Mets, 5-4.

With the Phillies losing by two and down to their final two outs, J.T. Realmuto tied the game with a two-run smash off beleaguered Mets closer Edwin Diaz, who has now allowed 11 runs and three homers to the Phillies in just 6⅔ innings this season.

It was Realmuto's third straight game with a home run and second straight game with a tying home run late. He tied Thursday's game with an eighth-inning solo shot in Cincinnati. He's up to 23 on the season.

The Mets came back to win it when reliever Nick Vincent hit Jeff McNeil to load the bases and walked Pete Alonso on a full count to force in the game-winning run. It's the second straight game Vincent has taken a walk-off loss.

Harper exited in the bottom of the third after being hit by a 92 mph sinker on the right hand by Mets lefty Steven Matz. The severity of the injury is not yet known but the Phillies have initially labeled it a contusion. More clarity should come tonight.

The Phillies, after losing to the Mets, are 4½ games behind the Cubs for the NL's second wild-card spot, pending the result of Friday's game between the Cubs and Brewers in Milwaukee. When the Phillies' game ended, the Cubs were down five runs in the seventh inning.

1. Still can't get 'em in

The Phillies, again, just didn't do enough hitting with runners in scoring position. They were 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners, including the bases loaded in the second inning, a man at second with no outs in the third inning and a man on second with one out in the seventh.

After ranking 10th in the majors by hitting .267 with runners in scoring position in the first half, the Phillies have hit just .242 with RISP since the All-Star break, 22nd in baseball.

The Mets were 4 for 6 with runners in scoring position. What do you think was the difference in the game?

2. Eflin solid again

Zach Eflin pitched well, allowing two runs over five innings. It's his third straight strong start, following a seven-inning, one-run performance against these Mets last Sunday and a six-inning, two-run start the previous weekend.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler spoke Friday afternoon about the importance of this final month for Eflin, who still needs to prove and solidify himself as a mid-rotation major-league starter.

The recent returns from Eflin have been promising as he's gotten back to using his sinker more frequently. In his last start, he threw a season-high 39 sinkers. In this one, he struck Pete Alonso out swinging twice with sinkers and retired Wilson Ramos twice with sinkers.

The only reason Eflin's night lasted only five innings was because the Phillies put runners on the corners with two outs in the top of the sixth and Kapler pinch-hit with Phil Gosselin, who walked.

Eflin is 8-11 with a 4.31 ERA in a career-high 140 innings.

3. Maikey loves the Mets

Maikel Franco got a rare start because of how he'd hit Matz in the past. With two more hits against the Mets lefty, Franco is 7 for 13 lifetime off Matz with a double, triple and homer.

Franco has just destroyed the Mets in 2019, hitting .333 with a .685 slugging percentage, six homers and 16 RBI in 14 games. He tied the game Friday night with a two-out RBI single up the middle in the sixth.

Against all other teams this season, Franco has hit .218 with a .356 slugging percentage.

4. So does Segura

Another Phillie who has worn out the Mets is Jean Segura. He doubled twice down the third-base line Friday, singled before Realmuto's homer and is hitting .375 with 11 extra-base hits in 12 games against the Mets this season.

Segura has 35 doubles overall this season, the second-most of his career. He has been quietly steady of late, staying between .280 and .290 over the last 34 games.

5. Up next

Any series in which the Phillies don't have Aaron Nola is a challenging one to win. They are fortunate to miss Jacob deGrom again but won't have the pitching matchup advantage in either of these final two games.

Since May 1, the Phillies are 40-46 in games pitched by anyone other than Nola.

Saturday night at 7:10 — LHP Drew Smyly (3-6, 6.65) vs. Marcus Stroman (7-12, 3.28)

Sunday afternoon at 1:10 — Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.80) vs. Noah Syndergaard (10-7, 3.97)

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Watch Phillies Alec Bohm's loved ones' amazing reaction to his first career at-bat

Watch Phillies Alec Bohm's loved ones' amazing reaction to his first career at-bat

Phillies star prospect Alec Bohm made his major league debut at third base on Thursday night, a pretty big moment for the future of the organization. 

Things went wrong basically all night for the Phils - of course! - but the 24-year-old managed to smack his first career at-bat down the third base line for a double, quite a way to begin a career.

While his parents and girlfriend couldn't be in attendance at Citizens Bank Park because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they were certainly watching. And, thanks to technology, we can watch their reactions to Bohm's first hit.

Here's what an MLB debut hit looks like in 2020:

Man, that's just the best. 

So much to love in a 41-second clip - Bohm's dad keeping his cool and noting the double; his mom's absolute exuberance; his girlfriend commenting on Bohm's smile - but my favorite part is the quote from his mom at the very end.

"Go baby go!"


After an otherwise brutal night for the Phils, I'm going to just keep watching this video on repeat. At least one thing went right.

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Are the Phillies this bad? Phils 5-9 after being swept by Orioles at home

Are the Phillies this bad? Phils 5-9 after being swept by Orioles at home

For the third straight night, the Phillies blew a multi-run lead against the Orioles in the middle innings. And for what feels like the 30th straight night, the Phillies' putrid bullpen didn't come close to keeping the game close.

It resulted in another loss as the Phillies were swept at home by the O's, losing 11-4 Thursday with seven of those runs coming against the Phils' bullpen.

Jake Arrieta had been cruising and the Phils built a two-run lead on J.T. Realmuto's opposite-field home run in the bottom of the fourth. But the next half-inning, Arrieta lost his command and couldn't pick up the final out with the bases loaded.

The Orioles scored four times in the fifth inning, the biggest hit a bases-clearing double from outfielder Anthony Santander.

Baltimore tacked on seven more runs against the Phillies' bullpen, which has a 10.13 ERA. Phillies relievers have allowed 48 earned runs in 42⅔ innings, which seems almost impossible.

"You have to be able to pitch to win games in this league, and quite frankly we just haven't thrown the ball well," Realmuto said. "We haven't done well late in games, in particular, when we've needed it. To win a division and to get to the playoffs, you need a really good bullpen. That's an area where we haven't done that well so far. We've got the guys to do it, we've just got to get better."

The Phillies are 5-9. They have the second-worst winning percentage in the National League, ahead of only the Pirates.

"It's concerning," Realmuto said. "With this shortened season, we've got to get it going quicker. It's definitely being talked about in the clubhouse. We're trying to pick each other up and stay positive. If you have one good week, you're back in it. Especially in our division, nobody is really running away with it yet."

Bohm's debut

Making his MLB debut, third baseman Alec Bohm's first major-league plate appearance ended with a double down the third-base line. He struck out looking in his second at-bat and flew out to a step in front of the warning track in right field to strand two runners in his third AB. In his final at-bat, he drilled a ball to the warning track in right-center for a flyout.

Bohm was also involved in Baltimore's fifth-inning rally. Pedro Severino rocketed a ball right under his glove at third base. It was the second-hardest hit ball of the night to that point and was a tough play but still probably one a big-league third baseman has to make.

Prior to the game, Phillies GM Matt Klentak described the team's plans to integrate Bohm into the everyday lineup.

Bryce and J.T. do it again

The Phillies are 5-9 but they might be something like 2-12 without their best two players. Realmuto hit a pair of two-run homers Thursday night, giving him 7 HR with 17 RBI on the season. Both home runs came after an extra-base hit from Bryce Harper, who doubled and tripled.

Harper is hitting .356 and leads MLB with a 1.202 OPS. Realmuto is hitting .292 and slugging .729, third to only Mike Trout and Aaron Judge. Realmuto has three more home runs than any other big-league catcher despite the Phillies having played a handful fewer games than most of the league.

There is a very good chance this is the hottest Harper and Realmuto will be in 2020. It would be hard to be hotter. If that's the case, the Phillies wasted all of this production.

Arrieta's night

Arrieta appeared to be on his way to another strong start before that fifth inning. He followed six shutout frames against the Braves with four zeroes Thursday night, extending his scoreless innings streak to 12 before the Orioles broke out.

"There's no reason I shouldn't have been able to throw at least seven innings in that game," Arrieta said. "A couple of runs should have been enough. Giving up four in the fifth kind of took the wind out of our sails. That one's completely my fault. I had multiple opportunities to make a pitch and get out of that inning. Just wasn't able to do it."

Through three starts, Arrieta has a 4.02 ERA with 14 strikeouts and two walks in 15⅔ innings.

More bad bullpening

Debuting Connor Brogdon was welcomed to the Phillies' bullpen by allowing two homers and three runs in 1⅓ innings. The Phillies have nine relievers with an ERA over 8.00 and ended up using position player Neil Walker for the final two outs.

Up next

The Phillies welcome the Mets to town for a three-game series this weekend. Jacob deGrom is scheduled to pitch for the Mets in Game 1. The Phillies will go with Spencer Howard for his second major-league start.

Aaron Nola starts for the Phillies Saturday, while Zack Wheeler faces his old team Sunday.

After the weekend, the Phillies play 10 straight games and 20 of their next 29 on the road.

"We obviously haven't performed up to our standards, that's for sure," Arrieta said. "There's really no time to worry about it. We just have to play better. We already have to catch up quite a bit."

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