Vince Velasquez struggles again as Phillies drop series

Vince Velasquez struggles again as Phillies drop series


A homestand that began with a rousing four-game sweep ended with a whimper as the Phillies were pounded by the Atlanta Braves, 10-1, at Citizens Bank Park on a forgettable and chilly Sunday afternoon.

The Phillies have lost two in a row for the first time since April 3-4 against the Mets. 

The Braves mugged starter Vince Velasquez for six runs in the first three innings and never looked back. The Phils and Braves have played three three-game series against each other in the early part of this season and the Braves have won two of three in each. 

The Phillies finished their 10-game homestand at 6-4. They opened the homestand with a four-game sweep of Pittsburgh then won just two games the rest of the way in a pair of three-game series against Arizona and Atlanta.

The Phillies are 16-11.

Starting pitching has been a strength for the Phillies in the early part of this season, but it showed some cracks in this homestand as Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta and Velasquez all struggled in their most recent starts.

Velasquez allowed a leadoff homer to Ozzie Albies Sunday afternoon and then was tagged for five runs in the third, three on a homer by Johan Camargo on a first-pitch changeup.

Velasquez has given up four home runs and a total of 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings over his last two starts. His ERA in six starts is up to 5.70.

Since the start of the 2016 season, 105 pitchers have made 45 or more starts in the majors. Velasquez ranks last among that group with 233 innings pitched.

Brandon McCarthy pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball for his third win of the season in as many starts against the Phillies.

The Phillies’ offense produced just five hits and racked up 13 strikeouts. The team has reached double-digits in strikeouts 18 times in 27 games.


• Odubel Herrera walked in the first inning to extend his on-base streak to 29 straight games, dating to last season.

• Carlos Santana went 0 for 3 with a walk. He is hitting .160 (15 for 94). Despite not hitting, Santana has walked 14 times in last 15 games for a .354 OBP in that span.

• The Phillies placed shortstop J.P. Crawford on the disabled list and recalled Jesmuel Valentin fro Triple A. Scott Kingery will get the bulk of the time at shortstop (see story).

• The Phils begin a six-game road trip to Miami and Washington Monday night. Jake Arrieta (3-0, 1.82) pitches Monday night against Miami’s Dan Straily (season debut). Following Sunday's game, the Phillies optioned Jake Thompson to Triple A. Zach Eflin will come up from Lehigh Valley to pitch on Tuesday.

These ugly Cowboys-looking Phillies hats have Philly fans freaking out

These ugly Cowboys-looking Phillies hats have Philly fans freaking out

Remember back on Phillies opening day 2019 when the team used a logo extremely similar to the Dallas Cowboys' star on the jumbotron and everybody freaked out?

Well, it seems we have a reprise of that situation today but in hat form.

We bring these questionable caps to you today via a reddit post aptly titled, "On no.... please god no..." which shows images of a new Philadelphia Phillies hat made by New Era that is currently being sold.

Philly fans absolutely hate it. Not only does it cloesly resemble the Dallas star, it's also just kind of ugly.

the front:

The hat is part of the New Era Elements Collection where they take something smaller from the team's actual logo and make it the main thing on a hat. The Cincinnati Reds used a mustache which is awesome. The Baltimore Orioles' smily bird looks pretty cool.

And then there's this very bad Phillies hat.

It's pretty obvious they are highlighting the star from the middle of the 'P' which is blown up on the front of the cap and featured relatively normal size on the back of the fitted cap, but it's still way too similar to the Dallas Cowboys' star for most in Philadelphia's liking.

The back:

It's unclear if these hats will ever get anywhere near the actual baseball team. Let's hope not.

Phillies free-agent targets: Josh Donaldson

Phillies free-agent targets: Josh Donaldson

Leading up to baseball’s winter meetings, we will take a daily look at some of the game’s top free agents and how they could potentially impact the Phillies.

Today, we check in on slugging third baseman Josh Donaldson.

The vitals

Donaldson has been one of the game’s premier sluggers the last half-dozen seasons. He’s an above-average defender at third base and an outstanding competitor. He has belted at least 33 homers in four of the last five seasons and led the American League with 123 RBIs in 2015, the year he won the AL MVP for Toronto. He battled injury in 2017 and 2018, signed a one-year, $23 million contract with Atlanta a year ago and went on to prove himself healthy by finishing 11th in the National League MVP voting in 2019. He played 155 games for the Braves and hit .259 with 37 homers, 94 RBIs and a .900 OPS.

Why he fits

At a position loaded with sluggers, Donaldson is still one of the best and the Phillies have a big need. Phillies third basemen ranked 24th in OPS (.725) and batting average (.243) and 22nd in homers (23) among big-league clubs in 2019. Donaldson’s fiery style of play would quickly win him fans in Philadelphia.

Why he doesn’t fit

The injury history, coupled with his age — he turns 34 in December — would be a concern on the long-term deal he is seeking, especially when the Phillies have a young third base prospect, Alec Bohm, scheduled to play at Triple A in 2020. Donaldson is one of three big third basemen on the free-agent market with Anthony Rendon and Mike Moustakas. The Phillies have already shown an interest in Moustakas, whose price tag could still allow the team to pump significant resources into pitching.

The price tag

Donaldson jumped quickly at a one-year deal last year. That won’t happen this year. He is said to be looking for at least three years and you have to figure the average annual value will be in the neighborhood of $25 million. If Donaldson keeps producing like he did in 2019, he’d be worth it.

Scout’s take

“He loves to play. And when he’s healthy, he’s a major difference maker. There’s value in that power. The concern for me would be that it’s a long season and he could fit more in the American League because of the DH.”

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