White Sox 10, Phillies 5: White Sox burst Drew Smyly's bubble with big 2nd inning

White Sox 10, Phillies 5: White Sox burst Drew Smyly's bubble with big 2nd inning


The Phillies completed a mostly embarrassing weekend of baseball at Citizens Bank Park with a 10-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

The White Sox, who entered the series 14 games under .500 and with a record of 4-16 since the All-Star break, took two of three from the Phillies.

The Phils faced three starting pitchers with ERAs above 5.00 (one was above 6.00) in the series and were held to 11 runs in 33 innings. Two of their runs Sunday came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. They were on their way to being held to three runs or less for the 12th time in 21 games before that.

The White Sox hit three homers, one a grand slam by Leury Garcia in the second inning.

The Phillies entered the day tied for the second wild-card spot. They are 58-53.

Smyly’s day

Lefty Drew Smyly’s third start with the Phillies was an interesting one. He pitched five innings before leaving for a pinch-hitter. He registered a 1-2-3 inning in four of those frames. His one bad inning was very bad as he gave up three singles, a walk and a grand slam as the White Sox scored five times in the second.

Tough day for pitching pickups

The Phillies signed Smyly after he opted out of his minor-league contract with Milwaukee last month. They acquired Mike Morin in a cash deal from the Twins on the same weekend. Morin allowed six hits and four runs in two innings of relief. He gave up a three-run homer in the eighth as the White Sox pulled away. Blake Parker, another newcomer, allowed a solo homer in the ninth.

Under the microscope

The on-again, off-again phasing-out of Maikel Franco is on again.

The Phillies sent Franco to Triple A before the game.

By sending Franco to the minors, the Phils opted to keep Sean Rodriguez as a right-handed bat and utility man off the bench.

Rodriguez came up as a pinch-hitter in a huge situation with one out in the bottom of the sixth. The Phils had pushed across two runs in the inning to cut the Sox’ lead to 5-3 and there were two men on base. Rodriguez could not keep the rally going. He bounced into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play against lefty Aaron Bummer and the White Sox tagged on a run in the top of the seventh to increase their lead to three runs.

Rodriguez is 2 for 16 with a homer and eight strikeouts as a pinch-hitter this season.

A new look at leadoff

The Phillies have had trouble in the leadoff spot since Andrew McCutchen went down with a season-ending knee injury in early June. Newcomer Corey Dickerson, picked up in a trade with Pittsburgh on Wednesday, got his first start with the Phils and batted leadoff. He was 2 for 5 with an RBI single and a two-run homer. The two-run homer came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Up next

The Phillies begin a seven-game trip to Arizona and San Francisco on Monday night. Here are the pitching matchups for the series in Arizona:

Monday night — RHP Vince Velasquez (3-6, 4.40) vs. RHP Merrill Kelly (7-11, 4.52)

Tuesday night — RHP Jake Arrieta (8-9, 4.44) vs. RHP Mike Leake (9-8, 4.27)

Wednesday night — LHP Jason Vargas (6-5, 3.93) vs. RHP Zac Gallen (1-3, 2.72)

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Was that the Phillies’ worst loss ever to the Marlins?

Was that the Phillies’ worst loss ever to the Marlins?

A few things about last night’s loss, which was inarguably the Phillies’ worst of the season and maybe their worst loss ever to the Marlins.

What happened last night should never happen. The Marlins are a pitiful offense that entered Friday night ranked last in the majors in OPS and 29th in runs scored.

At home, in massive Marlins Park, Miami had been averaging 3.9 runs and 2.4 extra-base hits per game. Against the Phillies Friday night, the Marlins scored 19 and had seven extra-base hits.

Ignominious records

The Marlins came into existence in 1993. Never in those 27 years had the Phillies given up 19 runs to Miami. The 19 hits were also the most the Phillies have ever allowed to the Marlins.

The meltdown

Last night was the first game in recorded Phillies history that they led by at least seven runs and lost by at least seven.

Considering the Marlins had scored more than seven runs only 10 times in their previous 126 games, it had to feel in the moment like a slam-dunk win. And yet...

The 8-run deficit

These teams have met 449 times. The Phillies have suffered a loss by more than eight runs just eight times. In other words, it’s happened once every 56 meetings.

The big picture

The Phillies are fighting for their playoff lives. The Marlins are 46-81 and on pace to lose 103 games.

The Phillies had just come off an improbable two-game sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway. The next two opponents after that are the two worst teams in the NL: Miami and Pittsburgh. If ever the opportunity for that elusive five-game win streak existed, it was now. Now, the Phillies will need to win the next two in Miami and sweep the Pirates to achieve that.

Consider also that the teams the Phillies are chasing continue to win.

The Nationals have won 8 of 10, scored 81 runs in their last seven games and have separated themselves from the wild-card pack. The Phillies trail the Nats by 4.5 games.

The Mets lost in extra innings to the Braves Friday night but had won five in a row before that. They’re 21-5 since July 25.

The Cardinals have won 7 of 10 to move a half-game ahead of the Cubs for the NL Central lead. For the Phillies to make the playoffs, they’ll need to catapult both the Mets and whichever NL Central team does not win the division.

The Phillies just aren’t as good as the teams they’re chasing. Here are the playoff odds per team, according to Fangraphs as of today. These take into account each team’s remaining schedule and projected performance.

Nationals: 93%

Cubs: 76%

Cardinals: 57%

Mets: 46%

Brewers: 17%

Phillies: 8%

The Marlins are 11-36 against the Braves, Nationals and Mets. Over a full season, that is a 38-124 pace.

And yet the Marlins are 8-6 against the Phillies. They have outscored the Phillies by one run and been outscored by 149 runs when facing anyone else.

Simply unacceptable. Friday counted as one loss by definition but looked and felt much worse than that in the bigger picture.

We all said entering the season that success against the Marlins could determine the NL East. Well, everyone but the Phillies has done what they’re supposed to do against this lowly Miami team. If/when the Phillies miss the playoffs, their 2019 performance against Miami will be one of the main storylines we remember from this frustrating season.

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Vince Velasquez on brutal loss to Marlins: 'I'm flat-out embarrassed'

Vince Velasquez on brutal loss to Marlins: 'I'm flat-out embarrassed'

MIAMI — The Phillies rolled into South Florida feeling really good about themselves after a two-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox. Phillies pitching held one of the best offenses in baseball to just four runs in that series and now it was time to keep the party going against one of the worst offenses in baseball.

For a while Friday night, the party rocked on and everyone was having a good ol' time.

Then, out of nowhere, the septic system backed up.

Actually, there was nothing wrong with the plumbing at Marlins Park, but you get the odious imagery. Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez let a seven-run lead get away in the third inning and the Phils went on to suffer an embarrassing 19-11 loss to the lowly Miami Marlins in the heat of a playoff race.

It was the first time the Phils blew a 7-0 lead and lost since August 2003.

“Unacceptable,” manager Gabe Kapler said afterward. “That’s a game we have to win.”

The night could not have started any better for Velasquez. He allowed just one base runner in the first two innings and took a 7-0 lead into the bottom of the third.

The Marlins tagged him for seven runs in that inning to tie the game. They also overcame a 9-7 deficit in the fifth inning on their way to hanging a 19-spot on the Phils. It’s worth noting that the Marlins had lost 16 of their previous 19 and six in a row. They’d scored just 13 runs total in that six-game losing streak.

Their offense got well against Phillies pitching. The Marlins had seven extra-base hits, including four homers. The only Phillies pitchers not to give up runs were reliever Juan Nicasio, who threw just two pitches before leaving with a sore shoulder, and utility man Sean Rodriguez, who threw two pitches in mop-up duty.

In addition to the poor pitching, the Phils played poor defense, particularly at third base, where Brad Miller and Maikel Franco both struggled. Franco made an error that helped fuel the Marlins’ five-run fifth inning. Four of those runs were unearned.

But the biggest problem the Phillies had on Friday night was Velasquez.

“I take full responsibility for the outcome of the game,” he said. “As a pitcher you want that run support. What more do you want than a 7-zero lead and you end up giving it up.

“I feel pretty embarrassed and disappointed.

“It’s a good sign that the bats are still alive. That’s a great sign that everyone is pulling through offensively. But I’m embarrassed that I couldn’t hold the lead and do my job as a pitcher and help the team on my behalf. I think as a team, we have to continue what we’re doing offensively. I’m flat-out embarrassed on my end. There should be no excuses for that.”

Kapler called it a “tough, tough loss,” and added, “We go up, 7-0, and we just didn’t make enough pitches. We weren’t able to put hitters away. We weren’t making enough plays on defense. We let a team back in the game that we shouldn’t have let back in the game. It’s that simple.

“We have to do a better job. We have to find ways to do a better job and then we have to quickly turn the page and come back and be ready to play tomorrow. Probably the most important thing we can do right now is have a short memory. Understand that this one sucks and that we have to protect an early lead and be better than that, and then come back tomorrow and be ready to play again.”

The Marlins’ seven-run rally in the third started when Velasquez hit a batter with an 0-2 pitch. Velasquez hit two batters in that inning and gave up five hits, including a three-run homer. Two innings later, Nick Pivetta allowed a go-ahead, two-run double to Neil Walker on an 0-2 pitch. Pivetta was charged with five runs in that inning, but only one was earned after an error by Franco.

Kapler probably could have gotten Velasquez out of the game sooner as the Marlins were pouring it on in the third.

“I think you wanted to display some confidence in a pitcher that’s been pretty good for us, give him a chance to get out of that, give him a chance to give us a little bit of length and not have to burn through the bullpen,” he said of Velasquez. “At that point, we had still all agreed he was our best option to get outs. He just wasn’t able to get it done.”

The Phillies, 2 1/2 games back in the wild-card race, needed to get greedy in this series, needed to play for the sweep. Now, they have to trust in struggling Zach Eflin on Saturday night before ace Aaron Nola goes on Sunday. The Phils have had a lot of problems with the Marlins this season. They are 6-8 against them. There are 35 games left and these next two games feel like must-wins.

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