Mark Leiter Jr.

Sloppy Phillies suffer embarrassing 24-4 loss to Mets in Game 1 of doubleheader

Sloppy Phillies suffer embarrassing 24-4 loss to Mets in Game 1 of doubleheader

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This was about as ugly as it can get.

Less than 24 hours after one of their best wins of the season, the Phillies turned in an absolutely embarrassing performance in losing, 24-4, to the New York Mets in the first game of a doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday.

The Phillies made four errors in the ballgame and allowed 11 unearned runs, the most since they allowed a club-record 12 in a game during the 1923 season.

Things got so ugly that the Phillies had to use two position players, Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery, to pitch the final three innings.

Quinn, who has a long injury history, got through 1 2/3 innings and 42 pitches healthy, but he was tagged for six hits, two walks and seven runs.

Kingery allowed two runs in the ninth inning. He lobbed the ball so slowly that it did not register on the stadium radar gun. Mets hitters dug in and teed off. Players in the Mets’ dugout giggled. Fans, who had booed earlier in the day, also giggled as the game was reduced to a comic act. The whole thing was an embarrassment to the sport (see Gabe Kapler's reaction). And to think, it came one day after the Phillies came back from three runs down to beat the Boston Red Sox, 7-4. Boston is far and away the majors' best team.

The Mets pulverized Phillies pitching for 25 hits. The Mets had 11 extra-base hits, including three homers.

Rookie lefty Ranger Suarez was called up from Triple A to start the first game of the doubleheader. He was hit hard to the tune of 11 hits and eight runs in four innings. Half of the runs Suarez allowed were unearned.

Mark Leiter Jr., also recalled earlier in the day from Triple A, was tagged for seven runs in the fifth inning. All the runs were unearned.

Maikel Franco made a pair of errors at third base. Catcher Jorge Alfaro made a throwing error and Rhys Hoskins dropped a ball in left field for another error. All the errors set up runs — multiples of them.

Poor defense is nothing new for these Phillies. They entered the game ranked second to last in the majors in defensive runs saved (minus-85), according to Fangraphs. Only Baltimore at minus-95 was worse.

The four errors gave the Phils 92 on the season, tying them with St. Louis for most in the majors.

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Phillies option Aaron Altherr and Mark Leiter Jr. to Triple A Lehigh Valley

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Phillies option Aaron Altherr and Mark Leiter Jr. to Triple A Lehigh Valley

Aaron Altherr is headed to Triple A, where he’ll get a chance to play every day and rebuild some confidence after struggling for nearly four months.

Altherr, who batted fifth in the Phillies’ opening day lineup and was a big part of their outfield arrangement to start the year, was optioned to Lehigh Valley following Sunday’s doubleheader. Last season, Altherr hit .272 with 19 homers and 65 RBI in 412 plate appearances.

Reliever Mark Leiter Jr. was also optioned to Triple A, with corresponding roster moves coming Monday.

In his lone plate appearance Sunday against the Padres, Altherr came in as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning. After working a 3-1 count, he swung through two fastballs to strike out.

Altherr is hitting .171 in 248 plate appearances, with 12 double plays. He has the highest double-play rate of any player in the majors this season. 

Against lefties, Altherr is hitting just .164.

Leiter had a difficult outing in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader, allowing six hits and three runs in two innings of work. For the season, Leiter has a 5.74 ERA in 11 appearances. 

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Questionable calls, miscues set stage for walk-off HR in Phillies' extra-inning loss to Mets

Questionable calls, miscues set stage for walk-off HR in Phillies' extra-inning loss to Mets

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NEW YORK – The New York Mets don’t have much to feel good about this season other than Jacob deGrom and Brandon Nimmo.

Those two did a job on the Phillies on Wednesday night.

DeGrom held the Phillies scoreless over eight innings and Nimmo came off the bench to slug a three-run home run against Mark Leiter Jr. in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Nimmo’s homer, the 13th of his breakout season, lifted the Mets to a 3-0 win on a night when the Phillies also received an excellent effort from their starting pitcher, Vince Velasquez (see first take).

“Super tough loss, but I thought Vinny went toe to toe with one of the best pitchers in baseball and held his own,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “Not just held his own but he was simply dominant.”

Velasquez, who spent the previous 10 days on the disabled list after taking a line drive off his right forearm, gave up just two hits over six scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out three. He threw a very economical 85 pitches.

DeGrom gave up just five hits, walked one and struck out seven. He lowered his ERA to 1.68 – the best mark in the majors.

“We had a hard time getting the offense going off one of the best pitchers in baseball,” Kapler said. “You have to tip your cap to their pitchers. They did a good job of shutting down our offense. And that really is the story of the game.”

The Phillies ended up splitting the four-game series with the Mets. The Phils are 51-40, tied for first place with Atlanta in the NL East, heading into Baltimore for a makeup game with the Orioles on Thursday.

Despite being shut down by the Mets’ pitchers, the Phillies had some chances. They had a replay challenge on a catch/trap in centerfield go against them in the seventh inning, erasing what would have given two men on base and one out against deGrom.

And in the top of the 10th inning, Andrew Knapp ran into the third out on the bases. Knapp got too aggressive rounding second on an infield hit by Cesar Hernandez. Third baseman Jose Reyes did not make a throw on the play and caught Knapp rounding second. If Knapp doesn’t get caught, the Phillies would have had runners at first and second with one out for Rhys Hoskins.

“I was trying to be aggressive,” Knapp said afterward. “I didn't think it was a for-sure hit play. I thought he would make a throw to first base. I saw the arm go. I was really trying to get to third base so Rhys could just get a nice base hit and we could score a run. Just a little bit too aggressive.”

Kapler supported Knapp.

“It certainly stung,” Kapler said of the play. “We teach aggressiveness and in many ways that play was aggressive. Knappy is coming around second base, he's looking for the ball moving towards first base. If it goes towards first base, which is what he is expecting in his mind, he stands on third base and we're in a great position to score on a passed ball. He wasn't able to see the ball out of hand. He just saw the arm and made an aggressive play. I stand behind him.”

Knapp, the Phillies’ catcher, was in the center of it all again in the bottom of the 10th after Leiter allowed a two-out double to Amed Rosario and a full-count walk to Jose Reyes to bring up Nimmo, who did not start the ballgame but is having a big year with an OPS of .894.

The Phillies’ dugout believed that Reyes swung at Leiter’s full-count changeup. The umpires ruled that Reyes checked his swing and Nimmo came up and ambushed a first-pitch curveball for the win.

“I thought he went, yeah,” Knapp said of Reyes’ check swing. “I think a lot of guys go, just from my point of view. But, yeah, it's such a judgment call. That umpire thought he didn't go.”

Leiter, dejected after the loss, was not sure whether Reyes swung or not.

“Maybe he went,” he said. “But that’s part of it and I have to get the next guy. Didn’t get it. You have to give Nimmo credit. That was a great swing. Good for him. Good job by him.”

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