New York Yankees

Phillies' bullpen struggles again in predictable loss to Yankees

Phillies' bullpen struggles again in predictable loss to Yankees

This was predictable.

Baseball is an everyday sport. Rhythm and repetition are key. Long layoffs are poison.

The Phillies had eight days off by the time they took the field to face Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees on Monday night. In the end, the Phils suffered a 6-3 loss to fall to 1-3 in the 60-game season.

The Phils' long layoff, of course, was the result of the team coming in contact with the COVID-19-stricken Miami Marlins two weekends ago.

With Monday night's win, the Yankees improved to 8-1. That's the best record in the majors.

The Yankees entered the game with 17 homers, which tied them with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the most in the majors. The Yankees clubbed three more in this game, including two against starter Jake Arrieta.

Arrieta's night

It wasn't great. But it wasn't bad, either.

The right-hander, making his first regular-season start in nearly a year, pitched five walk-free innings and struck out four. He allowed seven hits and three runs. He threw 78 pitches and hit 94 mph on the radar gun.

After the game, manager Joe Girardi said he removed Arrieta because it was the right-hander's first time out and he's still building his workload. Though he believed he could have kept going, Arrieta said he understood Girardi's decision.

Arrieta, whose season was ended by elbow surgery last year, showed some good movement on his two-seam fastball down in the zone, especially in the third and fourth innings when he registered four straight strikeouts.

Arrieta got in trouble early in the game with a couple balls up in the zone and two of them ended up over the wall. Four of the seven hits he allowed were for extra bases.

Again, it wasn't great. But it was definitely something to build on for Arrieta, who needs to deliver behind Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler if this team is going to have any chance of making the postseason. 

Bullpen problems

The bullpen was predicted to be this team's weakness and, so far, the predictions are accurate.

Deolis Guerra, an offseason waiver claim from Milwaukee, picked up Arrieta in the sixth inning with the Phillies trailing just 3-1. Things got out of hand quickly. Guerra walked the first batter he faced then hit the next batter. Two batters later, Gio Urshela launched a three-run homer to left against Guerra to increase the Yankees' lead to 6-1. Those extra runs were important because the Phillies scored twice in the late innings.

The bullpen has come up small in two of the Phillies' three losses. Eight days earlier, in an 11-6 loss to Miami, the Phillies' 'pen gave up seven runs in six innings.

The Phils did get some good work out of the 'pen Monday night from veterans Tommy Hunter and Jose Alvarez. They both pitched a scoreless inning.

Cole's night

The right-hander, who signed a nine-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees in the offseason, won for the third time in as many starts with his new club. He allowed five hits, including a homer to Jay Bruce, and a run over six innings. He walked one and struck out four.

Spencer Howard time?

With Tropical Storm Isaias bearing down on the East Coast, Major League Baseball proactively postponed Tuesday night's game between the Phillies and Yankees. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. First game is 4:05 p.m. The second game will start no more than 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Both games will be seven-inning affairs and the Yankees will be the home team in the first game.

Doubleheaders always cause scheduling issues with the starting pitching. The Phils will use Nola and Wheeler in Wednesday's doubleheader and will need another starter in the subsequent days. 

So, it might make some sense for the Phillies to bring up top prospect Spencer Howard later in the week, perhaps or Sunday's start against Atlanta.

Before Monday night's game — and before Tuesday night's postponement had been announced — Girardi was asked if there were any plans to bring Howard.

"Our discussions have been more about how he's doing as opposed to an exact date if we're going to call him up," Girardi said. "It's been more how he's doing and making sure he's pitching. I believe he threw on Friday (at the Phillies' reserve camp in Lehigh Valley). He made a start there and threw the ball pretty well, which is obviously encouraging. But as far as a date of calling him up, we have not come to a conclusion on that."

Having pitched on Friday, Howard would be on full rest Wednesday.

Up and back

The Phillies began their day with COVID-19 saliva testing then hit the road for New York at about 11:30 a.m. They took five buses (for social distancing reasons) to Yankee Stadium and arrived at about 1:30 p.m. The plan was to check into a hotel after the game, but that plan was scrubbed when Tuesday night's game was postponed. The Phils bused home after the game.

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Phillies-Yankees game Tuesday already postponed with Tropical Storm Isaias on the way

Phillies-Yankees game Tuesday already postponed with Tropical Storm Isaias on the way

Seven days off, one day on ... one day off.

The Phillies and Yankees play tonight but their game Tuesday has already been postponed due to the forecast of severe inclement weather linked to Tropical Storm Isaias.

The game will be made up Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park as the first game of a straight doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m.

The Phillies will be the "road" team for the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader at CBP and the home team for the second. There will be approximately 35 minutes between games.

The Phils-Yankees four-game series is set to conclude Thursday.

Aaron Nola was set to pitch the second game of the series, which means he'll be in line to start one of the two games Wednesday.

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Phillies' lineup for their return at Yankee Stadium after a week off

Phillies' lineup for their return at Yankee Stadium after a week off

For the first time in eight days, the Phillies are playing a game. Here is their lineup for tonight's 7:05 p.m. game at Yankee Stadium:

1. Andrew McCutchen LF
2. Rhys Hoskins 1B
3. Bryce Harper RF
4. J.T. Realmuto C
5. Didi Gregorius SS
6. Jean Segura 3B
7. Jay Bruce DH
8. Scott Kingery 2B
9. Adam Haseley CF

Some notes:

• McCutchen went 0 for 9 in the first two games of the season and sat the third. He impressed in the field with a sliding grab.

• Hoskins walked seven times in the opening series. Despite the Phillies being off a full week, he trails only Mike Yastrzemski (11) and Freddie Freeman (9) in the NL in walks.

• Harper and Realmuto each hit three-run homers in the Phillies' lone series of 2020.

• Gregorius returns to the Bronx, where he played the last five seasons and had three years of 20-plus home runs. He's hit two solo shots in the early going.

• Segura is 2 for 12 so far. He chased several pitches out of the zone against the Marlins.

• Haseley went 4 for 6 with two doubles in his lone start last Sunday, setting himself up for more work out of the leadoff spot when McCutchen rests.

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