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Marlins 9, Phillies 6: Phillies' bullpen implodes in another loss to Marlins

Marlins 9, Phillies 6: Phillies' bullpen implodes in another loss to Marlins

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The Phillies just can’t shake the Marlins.

They lost in Miami on Saturday, 9-6, squandering a 6-1 lead in the sixth inning after a bullpen implosion. Their losing streak against the Marlins, who hold the worst record in the National League at 32-49, is now five games.

The Phillies knocked Marlins starter Jordan Yamamoto out after four innings, scoring two runs apiece in the first and fourth. Rhys Hoskins added two runs of insurance with a two-run home run in the fifth inning, his 19th of the season and third in the last six games. 

Hoskins' insurance was not sufficient. The bullpen let the lead slip away, conceding six runs in a disastrous seventh inning. 

After the Phillies’ loss, the Braves held a six-game lead in the NL East. The Phillies are 43-40 on the season. 

Eflin’s day 

Zach Eflin, after allowing a career-high 11 hits his last time out vs. the Mets, looked to be having a strong bounce-back start.

He’d benefited some from the vast dimensions of Marlins Park, inducing two outs from Neil Walker on balls hit over 375 feet, but had kept Miami in check.

Then, Walker hit one just far enough in the sixth, lifting a two-run home run that narrowly cleared the left-field fence and made the game a little tighter. 

Eflin still managed a quality start, his 10th of the season in 16 outings. He allowed three runs in six innings, striking out three.

A costly end to a streak

Juan Nicasio couldn’t wrap up a scoreless June.

He entered Saturday’s game having shut out the opposition in 8 2/3 June innings, but the Marlins tagged for him three runs in a third of an inning.

Adam Morgan came in after Nicasio and also allowed three runs while recording a single out. 

Sticking at the top 

One positive note for the Phillies is that Scott Kingery looks like he might stick in the leadoff spot.

Kingery has hit .297 since moving to the top of the order Monday. He walked for the first time as the leadoff man Saturday and also added two hits and two RBIs. 

Late scratch 

Jay Bruce was originally in the Phillies’ lineup but was removed because of left elbow soreness. Bruce told reporters in Miami it was a precautionary move and he does not expect to be sidelined for an extended period. Roman Quinn took Bruce’s place and went 0 for 3. 

Up next 

The Phillies and Marlins conclude their series Sunday afternoon (1:10 p.m./NBCSP). Jake Arrieta (7-6, 4.33 ERA) will oppose Trevor Richards (3-8, 3.94 ERA).

The Phils then have a day off Monday before beginning a three-game series Tuesday in Atlanta. 

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Phillies activate Adam Morgan from IL, tab Vince Velasquez to start Saturday

Phillies activate Adam Morgan from IL, tab Vince Velasquez to start Saturday

A few notes as the Phillies get set to open a three-game series against the Miami Marlins on Friday night:

• Left-handed reliever Adam Morgan was activated from the injured list and lefty Cole Irvin was returned to Triple A.

Morgan had been out since May 26 with a sore elbow.

• A pair of rainouts and a doubleheader earlier in the week forced the Phils to scramble for starting pitching after Aaron Nola’s assignment Friday night.

Manager Gabe Kapler announced that the team would use Vince Velasquez as the starter for Saturday afternoon’s game (4:05 p.m. first pitch).

Enyel De Los Santos will come up from Triple A and make the start Sunday afternoon.

Velasquez will be making his second straight start after nine appearances out of the bullpen. Velasquez pitched well out of the bullpen at times and team officials seemed eager to see more of him in that role. However, the team’s immediate need is starting pitching — a role where Velasquez has been inconsistent. He has made seven starts this season and recorded a 4.83 ERA in 31 2/3 innings. Though he was willing to try the bullpen and at times seemed excited about it, Velasquez has long preferred starting. He gets another chance.

“It's an opportunity for Vince,” Kapler said. “It's an opportunity to take control of that fifth spot in the rotation for the time being. Very similar to the way I think we viewed Nick Pivetta when we added him back to the rotation. It's up to him. He's got a really cool opportunity in front of him and he has a chance to seize it.

“It’s imperfect that he’s had to go back and forth between a rotation spot and the bullpen. What I told him today, and it’s sort of important that he repeats it in his own mind, is, ‘I prepare my whole life to deliver a pitch on the mound. I have been doing this since I was a kid. I came through the minor leagues. I’ve pitched in the bullpen. I’ve started big games for us. I’m ready for this.’ And he is. He’s physically prepared for it. He’s mentally prepared for it. It’s time for him to share that. ‘I am ready for this moment,’ and go out there and get it done.”

Kapler believes that Velasquez is stretched out enough to get through the Marlins’ batting order “a couple of times.”

De Los Santos was acquired from San Diego for Freddy Galvis in December 2017. He made two starts for the Phils last season and has pitched in relief four times for the club this season. The right-hander has a 3.28 ERA in eight starts at Triple A Lehigh Valley this season.

• A couple of injured Phillies are getting closer to a return.

Reliever Tommy Hunter will pitch an inning for Single A Clearwater on Sunday and be in Philadelphia for an evaluation on Monday.

Outfielder Adam Haseley participated in running and fielding drills Friday afternoon and will likely play in a minor-league rehab game Monday. He has been out since June 6 with a groin strain.

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Another Phillies reliever joins the Sore Elbow Gang as Adam Morgan goes on IL

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USA Today Images/Jeff Hanisch

Another Phillies reliever joins the Sore Elbow Gang as Adam Morgan goes on IL

Phillies relievers continue to go down at an alarming rate.

Adam Morgan, the team’s best left-handed reliever, was placed on the injured list with a sore elbow Wednesday.

He joins a host of relievers already on the IL. The list includes Pat Neshek, who went on the IL over the weekend with right shoulder inflammation, and Victor Arano, who had arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in Los Angeles on Wednesday. (Manager Gabe Kapler did not know the nature of the surgery, but it was not Tommy John surgery, he said.)

Edubray Ramos is out with a triceps strain.

David Robertson, who signed a two-year, $23 million contract in the offseason, has been on the IL since mid-April with an elbow strain and Tommy Hunter has yet to throw a pitch this season because of an elbow strain suffered in spring training. Hunter is throwing off a bullpen mound and could be ready sometime in June.

Now Morgan goes down. His loss hurts. He has given up just four runs in 18⅓ innings over 24 appearances. He is second in the NL with 12 holds and has a WHIP of 0.709.

Right-hander Yacksel Rios was recalled from Triple A to replace Morgan.

With Morgan out, the Phillies have just one lefty, Jose Alvarez, in their bullpen. It’s possible that the Phils are looking to add Cole Irvin as a second lefty in the bullpen. He was pulled after from his start at Triple A after three innings Wednesday night and he is expected to accompany the Phils to the West Coast after Thursday afternoon’s game against the Cardinals.

Meanwhile, it’s likely that general manager Matt Klentak is casting a net outside the organization for bullpen help.

“Matt is always looking for help,” Kapler said.

How are the Phillies going to survive losing their top lefty reliever?

“We have to really game-plan effectively,” Kapler said. “Without Adam, we have Alvarez to go after a lefty or two. We have the Dodgers coming up (Friday through Sunday) and they have some left-handed dudes who can do some damage. We’ll have to use our right-handers to get outs. Both Seranthony Dominguez and Hector Neris can get lefties out. Edgar Garcia can, as well.

“It’s not optimal. We’ll fight through a tough time. We’ve fought through it with David and Tommy, with Arano and Ramos, and we’ll do it with Adam, as well.”

Kapler said Morgan had been managing some pain in his elbow (on the inner part of the arm near where the forearm connects with the elbow) for a couple of weeks. Morgan had trouble bouncing back from an outing Friday night in Milwaukee and on Tuesday night felt like he was altering his delivery to compensate for pain as he warmed up in the eighth inning.

That was enough for Morgan to speak up.

He had an MRI on Wednesday. The results were not immediately available.

“I’m pretty optimistic,” Morgan said. “In all the tests, the strength is still there.

"It's very disappointing. Losing D-Rob and Neshek and Arano and Ramos and those guys — it hurts me because I felt the pressure when those guys went down and I don't want to put that on my guys. That's probably one of the toughest parts."

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