Phillies' scoreless streak over, but Jake Arrieta's offense not enough to avoid sweep

Phillies' scoreless streak over, but Jake Arrieta's offense not enough to avoid sweep

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SAN FRANCISCO — The punchless Phillies concluded a miserable weekend by The Bay with a 6-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon.

The Phils were swept in the three-game series. They scored just one run in 27 innings. They were hitless in 16 at-bats with a runner in scoring position in the series.

Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta provided the team's only run of the series with a solo home run in the third inning Sunday afternoon. The homer broke a 22-inning scoreless drought for the Phillies, but it didn’t exactly get the offense going. The Phils have scored just five runs in their last five games. They head into Monday’s off day with a 31-26 record. They are 2-5 on this 10-game trip, which resumes Tuesday night against the Cubs in Chicago and has a chance to be a real disaster if the offense continues to sputter.

Arrieta had an interesting day. He breezed through the first five innings, facing the minimum 15 batters thanks to a couple of double plays.

Everything fell apart for Arrieta after he came up and in on Gorkys Hernandez with one out in the sixth. Hernandez dusted himself off and stroked a broken-bat single to center, the first of five straight hits against Arrieta that concluded with a three-run homer by Andrew McCutchen.

After Hernandez, pinch-hitter Alen Hanson reached on an infield single that shortstop Scott Kingery seemed slow to charge. Joe Panik then tied the game at 1-1 when he stroked a 1-2 curveball to right field for a hit. Buster Posey followed with a base hit before McCutchen, a standout on both sides of the ball in the series, skied an 0-1 curveball down the right-field line. The ball stayed just inside the foul pole and dropped into a sea of fans for a three-run homer.

In all, the Giants scored five runs over the course of five batters. The five runs were as many as Arrieta allowed in five starts in the month of May.

The Phillies’ bats were dominated in back-to-back games by rookies. Lefty Andrew Suarez pitched seven shutout innings in the Giants’ 2-0 win Saturday night. Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez, son of Hall of Fame catcher Pudge Rodriguez, held the Phillies to one run over six innings in his first big-league start Sunday.

The Phils got the first two men on base against reliever Will Smith in the eighth only to get nothing. Buster Posey then homered against Hector Neris on a 3-0 pitch in the bottom of the inning.

The Phillies are 6-10 in their last 16 games. They are hitting .205 over that span

Up next
The Phillies are off on Monday. They open a three-game series against the Cubs in Chicago on Tuesday night. Pitching matchups:

Tuesday night: RHP Zach Eflin (1-2, 4.50) vs. RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.19)

Wednesday night: RHP Aaron Nola (7-2, 2.14) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (6-4, 4.30)

Thursday afternoon: RHP Nick Pivetta (4-4, 3.48) vs. RHP Tyler Chatwood (3-4, 4.02)

Phillies' offense goes from just enough to microscopic in San Francisco

Phillies' offense goes from just enough to microscopic in San Francisco

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Phillies are one of baseball’s surprise teams because they have gotten consistently strong pitching and just enough offense to win games.

The calendar has turned to June and the pitching remains strong. The offense, however, has gone from just enough to microscopic.

The Phillies suffered their second straight shutout defeat Saturday night, wasting a strong start from Vince Velasquez in a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park (see first take). The Phillies had just three hits and one was an infield hit. Twenty-four hours earlier, the Phils were shut out, 4-0, by the Giants. Over their last four games, the Phillies’ offense has produced just four runs and one was a phantom run (see story).

“Obviously, at the end of the day, you have to score runs to win baseball games,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

“I think we're pressing a little bit. I think we're putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to get the big hit. We're putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to drive the baseball. Sometimes it's happening, sometimes it's not. It's a little bit less patient right now. It's certainly not a lack of talent. I believe strongly in the guys in the lineup tonight. I believe strongly in the guys in that room to score a bunch of runs. And I believe in our hitting leader, John Mallee, to lead them in the right direction. So everything is in place. It's more just we're going through a tough stretch. We have to weather this storm.”

The Phillies were sky-high coming out of Los Angeles with a split of a four-game series three days ago. Now, they need a win Sunday to avoid being swept by Giants, a team they took four games from last month in Philadelphia.

Over the last 15 games, the Phillies are 6-9. After briefly poking their head into first place in the NL East, they are now two games back at 31-25.

Over that 15-game span, the Phillies have hit .205 and averaged 2.9 runs per game. Odubel Herrera is 10 for 61 over that span and has gone from a league-best .361 to .306.

“Right now, we’re going through a tough moment but we’re going to find a way to turn it around,” Herrera said. “We’re not being as patient as we were before and that’s really a key. You know if you look for your pitches and you’re patient, things are going to work, but we’re too desperate and we’re trying to look for something too early.”

As for Herrera himself …

“I don’t really know what it is,” he said. “One thing I can tell you is, I’ve been putting in the work in the cage. Maybe it’s something mental, maybe it’s bad luck.”

Velasquez gave up just five hits, walked one and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball. He was tagged for a leadoff double by Joe Panik in the sixth and it led to the only run the Giants would need. Panik moved up on a groundout and scored on a contact-play ground ball by Andrew McCutchen to shortstop Scott Kingery. The infield was in on the play. Kingery had to make a quick throw home and it was high, allowing Panik to sneak in before Jorge Alfaro's tag.

“You don’t really have time to re-grip and aim there,” Kingery said. “It’s just catch it and get rid of it as quickly as possible.”

Giants rookie Andrew Suarez held the Phillies to three hits over seven innings and got a huge assist from rightfielder McCutchen, who stole extra bases from Cesar Hernandez with a great running catch to end the top of the third. Alfaro, who had tripled, died on third.

“Man, I thought the ball was absolutely murdered,” Kapler said. “That was a tremendous play — great break, full speed, perfect route, never broke stride. Good job by him by making that play. Cesar absolutely leaned on that ball. It was disappointing for the dugout. But a really good play by the other guy.”

The Phillies, who have not scored in 20 innings, will turn to Jake Arrieta to salvage a game in the series Sunday. He will face rookie Dereck Rodriguez. The son of Hall of Famer Pudge Rodriguez will be making his first big-league start.

Vince Velsaquez deals but Phillies' scoreless stretch reaches new low

Vince Velsaquez deals but Phillies' scoreless stretch reaches new low

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Phillies’ offense has disappeared in the famous San Francisco fog.

The Phils suffered a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park Saturday night. It was the second straight game in which the Giants have shut out the Phillies, who need a win Sunday afternoon to avoid being swept in the three-game series.

Less than a month ago, the Phillies were riding high thanks to a four-game sweep of the Giants in Philadelphia.

Now, the Phillies are 6-9 in their last 15 games and 31-25 on the season. They have scored just four runs in their last four games — and one of them should not have counted because Maikel Franco missed the plate.

Rookie left-hander Andrew Suarez, who entered Saturday night’s start with 5.65 ERA, held the Phillies scoreless over seven innings in his eighth big-league start. Suarez gave up just three hits, walked none and struck out five. Relievers Tony Watson and Hunter Strickland handled the rest.

Phillies starter Vince Velasquez pitched well but got no support from the offense. The only run he gave up came in the sixth inning after Joe Panik smacked a leadoff double. Panik moved to third on a ground ball then scored the game’s first run on a chopper to shortstop Scott Kingery. The Phillies had the infield in for Andrew McCutchen. Panik broke on contact and was able to slide in ahead of Kingery’s throw to catcher Jorge Alfaro. Kingery had to charge the ball and throw on the run. He did not get a lot on the ball. A firmer throw might have gotten Panic. The play was reviewed but umpire Jerry Meals’ safe call held up.

McCutchen drove in both of San Francisco’s runs. His sacrifice fly to center in the ninth padded the Giants’ lead.

The Phillies had just three hits on the night and one was an infield single. They did not draw a walk.

The Phillies came up empty on a couple of good scoring chances early in the game. Alfaro stroked a one-out triple in the third inning and was stranded on third. McCutchen, the Giants’ right fielder, made sure Alfaro died on third as he made a sensational running grab on a drive-by Cesar Hernandez to the huge alley in right-center. Hernandez’ drive would have been out of most parks.

In the fifth, the Phillies had runners on the corners with one out, but Suarez struck out Alfaro and Velasquez to get out of trouble.

Velasquez allowed five hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings. He walked just one and struck out nine. He has allowed just four earned runs in his last four starts.