Phillies

Rookie relievers Seranthony Dominguez, Austin Davis burned in Phillies' 14-inning loss

Rookie relievers Seranthony Dominguez, Austin Davis burned in Phillies' 14-inning loss

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PHOENIX — The Phillies have lost just two games in the last eight days and, frankly, they should not have lost either of them.

Jake Arrieta pitched eight shutout innings against a rugged Arizona Diamondbacks team on Monday night and the Phillies were looking at a victory to kick off a six-game road trip when everything fell apart in the bottom of the ninth inning. Seranthony Dominguez blew a two-run lead and the Phillies went on to lose, 3-2, in 14 innings (see first take).

David Peralta, who began the onslaught against Dominguez with a one-out homer in the ninth, homered again with one out in the 14th to give Arizona the win. Peralta’s game-winner came against lefty Austin Davis.

Both Dominguez and Davis are rookies, getting baptized by fire in their first pennant race. They felt the uncomfortable burn in this one.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Phillies and it stung simply because a team looking to snap a six-year playoff drought can’t waste pitching efforts like the one Arrieta turned in.

Eight days earlier, in Boston, the Phils squandered an eight-inning gem by Aaron Nola in suffering a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox in 13 innings. That was a game the Phillies absolutely should have won. Centerfielder Odubel Herrera misplayed a ball that cost Nola the only run he allowed. Herrera also made a base-running gaffe in that game and did not play the next day.

Manager Gabe Kapler called that loss in Boston “a punch in the face.” He wasn’t as colorful in describing the latest loss, but it was clear that it was painful.

“Jake pitched tremendously well,” Kapler said. “He was very poised throughout the game. He had all of his pitches working and had a ton of confidence. He pitched great and we definitely strive to win baseball games like that for a starting pitcher that performs like Jake did.”

Arrieta has pitched 15 innings in his last two starts and allowed just one run.

“Losing a game just stinks, really,” Arrieta said. “But two first-place teams going at it and it’s no easy task to score a couple of runs off Seranthony and the guys that came in behind him, so credit them for sticking with it.

“Really nice job by both bullpens to get it to the 14th and we know at some point someone is going to score and they just happened to do it before we did.”

Dominguez began his big-league career with an incredible streak. He did not give up a run in 14 2/3 innings over his first 12 games. Since then, he has given up 11 earned runs in 25 2/3 innings over 24 games — an ERA of 3.86.

The 23-year-old power arm is still a huge weapon for the Phillies. But he is human. He allowed a home run and blew a save against Miami on Sunday. The Phillies came back to win that one. They could not win this one, though they are still 14 games over .500 and a game up on Atlanta in the NL East.

Kapler acknowledged that Dominguez was not at his best Monday night, “But we are not wavering in our confidence in him whatsoever. We cannot wait to get him back out on the mound because we understand how good he is and the talent will prevail.”

As for Dominguez’s confidence …

“I think naturally it’s going to be slightly shaken, but he’s a pretty resilient kid,” Kapler said. “He’s pretty strong mentally. He’s pretty tough across the board and I don’t expect this to keep him down.”

Dominguez hung an 0-1 slider to Peralta in the ninth. That homer made it a one-run game and raised the pressure in the inning. Dominguez then gave up a double and a game-tying base hit.

“The only thing that I can think of that went wrong is that I hung a slider,” Dominguez said. “It should have been lower. It should have been on the plate. But it stayed up. That could have been huge.

“I feel bad for Jake. He pitched a great game. What I really wanted the most was to get him that win and to help the team win.”

Dominguez might have to wait a day to get back on the mound. He has pitched two days in a row, so it’s likely that Kapler will try to stay away from him Tuesday night when the two teams go again. Nick Pivetta will pitch against Zack Greinke. Lost in the disappointment of Monday night's defeat was the Phillies' scoring just two runs. Getting hot against Greinke is never easy and that's another reason this loss was so painful for the Phils. 

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Phillies suffer another brutal loss in Coors Field house of horrors

Phillies suffer another brutal loss in Coors Field house of horrors

DENVER — Coors Field is turning into a house of horrors for the Phillies. Swept in four games during the final, dark days of the 2018 season and now losses in back-to-back nights in the new season, including one of the most excruciating you’ll see on Friday night.

“Brutal,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Just a brutal loss. No way to sugarcoat it. That was a devastating loss across the board.”

Moments after taking a one-run lead in the top of the 12th inning on two-out hits by Phil Gosselin and Bryce Harper, the Phillies walked off the field with a painful 4-3 loss when Charlie Blackmon lined a two-out, two-run home run over the wall in right-center. The home run came on a 1-2 fastball from Juan Nicasio in his second inning of work (see observations).

In addition to losing the game, the Phillies likely lost recently hot-hitting Scott Kingery to the injured list. He suffered a right hamstring strain in the fourth inning and left the game. Andrew McCutchen also left the game with swelling in his left knee. After the game, he said he’d be ready to go Saturday night.

The Phillies are already thin with Odubel Herrera on the IL with a hamstring injury and reliever David Robertson on the IL with an elbow strain. Shortstop Jean Segura is also sidelined with a hamstring issue, though he’s not on the injured list. The Phils will likely have to add a position player from the minors for Saturday night’s game and Aaron Nola will have to give his team some innings to give the bullpen a rest.

The bullpen was very good before Nicasio walked a batter and allowed Blackmon’s homer in the 12th on Friday night. It delivered 5 1/3 scoreless innings between Vince Velasquez's departure in the sixth and the decisive 12th inning.

Velasquez’s solid start — two runs and eight strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings — and the work of the bullpen gave the Phillies a chance to win on a night when the offense racked up a lot of hits but did very little damage.

The Phils had 17 hits on the night but only three were for extra bases. The Phils were just 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position and they stranded 19 runners.

“Certainly, we have the ability to swing the bats very well with runners in scoring position and we didn't do that tonight,” Kapler said.

“Our bullpen threw the crap out of it,” Harper said. “Any time you can keep a team like that to two runs in Coors Field for that long, that’s doing something.

“We can be better, myself included. We got guys on base. We’ve got to get those guys in. If we could have gotten a couple of those runs across, it might have been a different story.”

As badly as things went for the Phils, with the injuries and the lack of scoring, they were in line to win the game after Gosselin, the West Chester native playing in his first game with the Phils, stroked a two-out single in the top of the 12th and came all the way around to score the go-ahead run on Harper’s fifth hit and second double of the game.

Nicasio issued a one-out walk in the bottom of the 12th then got the second out before Blackmon came up and ended the game. The Phils were one strike from winning. That’s why Nicasio challenged Blackmon with a fastball with the light-hitting Drew Butera on deck.

“You have Blackmon in a hole so you try to put him away,” Kapler said. “And that's what Juan did. We backed off the bunt. We weren't going to guard against the bunt. If [Blackmon] wants to put a bunt down, fine. First and second with Butera coming up — we would have been OK with that. Then, when we got Blackmon in the hole, I think everybody felt like the right play was to really attack him there.”

Blackmon attacked back.

And won.

The Phils are 4-12 against the Rockies since the start of the 2017 season and they have lost six straight in Coors Field with two more to play this weekend.

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Rockies 4, Phillies 3: Stunning loss on 2-out, 2-strike walk-off homer in 12th inning

Rockies 4, Phillies 3: Stunning loss on 2-out, 2-strike walk-off homer in 12th inning

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DENVER — Charlie Blackmon's two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th against Juan Nicasio gave the Colorado Rockies a 4-3 win over the Phillies on Friday night.

The home run came with two outs on a 1-2 count.

Bryce Harper’s fifth hit of the game, a double to the gap in left-center with two outs in the top of the 12th inning, scored Phil Gosselin from first base and gave the Phils the lead.

The Phils had 17 hits, but only three for extra bases. The Phils were 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position and left 19 men on on base.

Those missed chances killed the Phillies.

Colorado has won two in a row against the Phils. The Phillies are 4-12 against the Rockies since the start of 2017.

The Phillies are 11-8.

The Rockies are 8-12.

In a troubling subplot, the Phillies lost two more players to injury. Andrew McCutchen exited with left knee inflammation in the sixth inning. Earlier Scott Kingery exited with a hamstring injury suffered while legging out a ground ball in the fourth inning. The team called it a “strain,” which would seem to signal a trip to the injured list for Kingery (see story).

The keys

• Colorado right-hander German Marquez pitched a one-hit shutout with no walks and nine strikeouts against the Giants in his previous outing. The Phillies tripled that hits total in the first inning as they broke out to a 1-0 lead. They worked Marquez for 26 pitches in the inning and were into the Rockies’ bullpen in the sixth inning.

• Vince Velasquez pitched well for the Phillies. He carried a shutout and a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning. But Velasquez had trouble putting away hitters in that frame. Trevor Story hit a 459-foot homer to left on an 0-2 fastball (96 mph) to make it a one-run game. Ian Desmond doubled on a 2-2 pitch with two outs and Garrett Hampson followed with a broken-bat double to left on a full-count fastball (97 mph) to tie the game.

• Catcher J.T. Realmuto cut down Blackmon trying to steal second with one out in the seventh. It was a big play in a tight game. Realmuto has caught three would-be base stealers in two nights.

Velasquez's night

The enigmatic right-hander continued to make strides with his third straight solid start. He gave up just the two runs in 5 2/3 innings and struck out eight. The only walk he surrendered was intentional. Over three starts, Velasquez has pitched 16 2/3 innings and given up just five runs. He seems to be pitching with more poise than in the past.

Velasquez had a big fastball and he used it often. Sixty-four of his 97 pitches were fastballs and he got 15 swinging strikes on the pitch, which topped out at 98 mph.

Health check

The Phillies have been beset by a series of injuries in recent days. Reliever David Robertson was placed on the injured list with an elbow strain. Odubel Herrera went on the IL with a hamstring strain. Jean Segura is not on the IL, but he has missed three straight games with a sore hamstring.

Injuries continued to mount as Kingery left this game in the fourth inning and McCutchen in the sixth.

Kingery started at shortstop. He was replaced by Gosselin.

Up next

Aaron Nola looks to break an early season slump when he faces the Rockies and right-hander Antonio Senzatela on Saturday night.

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