Twins 6, Phillies 2: Offense finally dries up in 1st home loss

Twins 6, Phillies 2: Offense finally dries up in 1st home loss


After leading the majors with an average of over eight runs in their first six games, the Phillies were held to a season-low total in a 6-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday afternoon.

The Phillies left the bases loaded in a one-run game in the bottom of the eighth inning before the Twins blew it open in the ninth.

Jake Arrieta took the loss and early-season concerns about important reliever Seranthony Dominguez continued to mount.

The defeat, in front of the third sellout crowd of the young season, was the Phils’ first in five home games.

The Phils are 5-2. Minnesota is also 5-2.

The keys

• Minnesota feasted on three mistakes by Arrieta in the third inning. First, Arrieta wild-pitched a run home then he allowed back-to-back solo homers on a pair of sliders, one that caught too much plate and the other that hung.

• Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Phillies loaded the bases with no outs on a single by Jean Segura, a hustle double by Bryce Harper and a walk to Rhys Hoskins. Odubel Herrera got one run home with a sacrifice fly, but the Twins’ defense kept the tying run off the board when centerfielder Byron Buxton gunned down Harper at the plate as he tried to score on a fly ball to not-so-deep center. The throw was up the line, but Twins catcher Willians Astudillo was able to make the play on a leaping Harper.

• Down a run in the eighth, the Phillies loaded the bases on two infield hits and a walk, setting up Cesar Hernandez with a chance to change the game. Hernandez fell behind 0-2 to Minnesota lefty Taylor Rogers then grounded out to first base to end the Phillies’ last best threat.

Arrieta’s day

The veteran right-hander failed in his bid for big-league win No. 100 as his mates did not provide enough offense to overcome his poor third inning.

Arrieta battled through seven innings, but he didn’t fool many hitters. He got just one swinging strike and survived a lot of hard contact while registering just one strike out.

Seranthony’s struggles

Projected bullpen stud Dominguez has had a rough go of it in the early season. He could not keep the game close in the ninth inning. He allowed a walk, a hit batsman and a three-run homer as the Twins pulled away.

The home run, by lefty hitter Eddie Rosario, came on a 95-mph fastball that had late cutting action. Dominguez has yet to consistently show the fastball thunder that he did as a rookie last year.

Cutch up

Andrew McCutchen led off the bottom of the first inning with a double, but was stranded at third base. In the first seven games, McCutchen has reached base four times leading off. He has a homer, a double, a single and a walk in those situations.

Lineup tweak

After using the same lineup for the first six games, Gabe Kapler made a slight adjustment and used Andrew Knapp behind the plate. J.T. Realmuto entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.

Up next

The two teams play the series finale Sunday afternoon at 1. Zach Eflin looks to build on a strong start in Washington. He will go against Twins right-hander Jose Berrios.

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At the Yard podcast: Zeroing in on Joe Girardi, free agency, 2020 outfield


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The Phillies shouldn't let Joe Girardi leave town early this week. Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discuss the Phillies' second round of interviews and more on the latest At the Yard podcast.

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Phillies looking toward the Bronx in future-shaping week

AP Images

Phillies looking toward the Bronx in future-shaping week

Phillies officials begin an important work week Monday, one that will have a significant impact on the team's future.

On Monday, the club will host Joe Girardi at Citizens Bank Park in a second interview for the team's open manager's job.

Girardi met with team officials last Monday in the New York metropolitan area. He is the third candidate to receive a second interview for the position. Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter visited Philadelphia for second interviews on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

The Phillies have a narrow focus in their search for a new skipper; they are seeking someone with previous big-league managerial experience. Girardi, Showalter and Baker, with 53 combined years of big-league managing experience and seven manager of the year awards, are the only candidates for the position and it is possible the team could make a hire this week. Thursday could be a target for an announcement as the World Series pauses for an off day between Games 2 and 3.

The Phils could make another important announcement this week. Multiple sources around baseball say the Phils have completed their search for a new amateur scouting director and that Brian Barber is the guy they are locked in on. Barber is a highly regarded national scout for the New York Yankees. His hiring by the Phillies could be announced this week. Barber will replace Johnny Almaraz, who last month stepped down as the Phillies' director of amateur scouting.

Of course, Barber isn't the only man with Yankees roots in the Phillies' sights. Girardi won four World Series rings with the Yankees — three as a player and one as a manager — and is believed to be the Phillies' preferred candidate for manager. 

In addition to having a wealth of experience in running a game with his instincts and intuition, Girardi is well versed in the use of analytics in roster building and game management. Phillies ownership has committed millions to building an analytics department and the club is looking for a manager who can blend a traditional approach to running a game and a team with an approach that uses data and analytics. Girardi managed the Yankees from 2008 to 2017 and in that time the team became an analytics powerhouse.

Girardi is also a candidate for the New York Mets managerial opening. It is not clear if the Mets are prioritizing previous big-league managing experience like the Phillies are. The Mets have interviewed Girardi as well as a number of candidates who have not managed in the big leagues, such as Carlos Beltran and Eduardo Perez.

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