Zac Curtis

Vince Velasquez hits DL; Pat Neshek finally returns

Vince Velasquez hits DL; Pat Neshek finally returns

The Phillies made a pair of roster moves Sunday morning, placing Vince Velasquez on the 10-day DL and optioning lefty reliever Zac Curtis to Triple A while activating Pat Neshek off the DL and recalling Jake Thompson from Lehigh Valley.

For Velasquez, it could simply be a way to buy him more time after he avoided disaster Saturday. His next start wouldn’t have been until Saturday, July 7 anyway because of off days this week. Placing him on the DL allows the Phils to add another useful piece to the bullpen in the meantime.

Velasquez was struck on the right forearm by a hard line drive off the bat of Adam Eaton, leading to a memorable defensive play and an early exit for Velasquez. X-rays were negative and Velasquez has a right forearm contusion. He initially thought his arm was broken but said Saturday in the Phillies’ clubhouse that he felt “great” and that more would be determined by the team physician Sunday morning. 

The return of Neshek comes at an ideal time, with the bullpen being taxed the last two days and Edubray Ramos and Luis Garcia on the DL. Neshek signed a two-year, $16.25 million contract this past offseason to return to the Phillies but arm injuries have kept him off the field all season. As it turns out, he’ll have missed the entire first half. 

Neshek has a 2.50 ERA since 2012, and 41 of his 43 appearances as a Phillie last season were scoreless.

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Phillies allow 7 homers as club thrashed by Nationals

Phillies allow 7 homers as club thrashed by Nationals

BOX SCORE

The Phillies absorbed a hellacious beating at the hands of the Washington Nationals on Friday night. The Nats ambushed starter Nick Pivetta for seven runs in the first two innings, ran out to an 11-run lead and powered their way to a 17-7 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

The weather was steamy — hittin’ weather as Charlie Manuel used to say — and the Nationals did a lot of that against Pivetta and Hector Neris. The Nats hit a pair of two-run homers in the first inning (Trea Turner and Juan Soto) and a three-run homer (Anthony Rendon) in the second against Pivetta, who lasted just 1 2/3 innings.

The Nats got another homer — a three-run shot — from Bryce Harper in the fourth inning in building an 11-0 lead. The homer, against Yacksel Rios, was Harper’s NL-leading 20th.

Things got ugly in the ninth inning when Neris gave up three home runs and was serenaded by boos after finally getting the third out.

The Nats hit seven homers in the game. Entering the game, they had hit just 12 in the entire month of June.

The loss left the Phillies at 43-37. They are a game better than Washington (42-38) in the NL East standings. Atlanta leads the division.

June was considered to be a tough test for the Phillies. Friday night’s loss means the Phils will not finish the month with a winning record. They are 12-14 with one game to play in the month. It still has been a solid month for the Phillies with series wins over the Rockies, Brewers, Cardinals and Nationals last week. With two games left against the Nats this weekend, there is still time to win this series, but the Phils will need better starting pitching from Vince Velasquez and Jake Arrieta.

Pivetta fell to 4-7 with the loss and his ERA swelled from 4.06 to 4.71 in 17 starts.

The 25-year-old right-hander opened the season as one of the team’s bright spots. He went 4-2 with a 3.23 ERA in his first 10 starts. Since then, he is 0-5 with a 7.09 ERA in seven starts.

Despite being down 11-0, the Phillies battled back and managed to at least make the game interesting with a 10-hit attack that included home runs from Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery and Carlos Santana.

Hoskins has homered in three straight games, giving him 14 on the season and eight since coming off the disabled 19 games ago. He has 22 RBIs over that span.

Hoskins’ home run in the fifth inning against Washington starter Erick Fedde was pretty impressive. It came on a full-count splitter on the 14th pitch of the at-bat and after Hoskins had fouled off seven straight pitches. Hoskins fouled off eight pitches in all in the at-bat.

That was about the extent of the Phillies' highlights on a forgettable night.

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Phillies can't touch Luis Severino, Yankees in shutout

Phillies can't touch Luis Severino, Yankees in shutout

BOX SCORE

If this is indeed some measuring-stick series for the Phillies then it’s clear they have a long way to go.

The Phils were outclassed for the second night in a row in a 6-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park.

Once again, Yankees fans overpowered Phillies fans in the sellout crowd of 43,568 and the Yankees gave their faithful a lot to shout about, most notably Luis Severino’s dominant starting pitching performance.

Severino won his majors-best 12th game with seven shutout innings. He gave up six hits, walked none and struck out nine. He featured mostly a four-seam fastball. The pitch averaged 98.6 mph and hit 100 mph several times, including in an eight-pitch fourth inning.

Meanwhile, Phillies starter Jake Arrieta did not have a good night against the 52-win Yankees, leaders of the American League East. The right-hander lasted just five innings and gave up nine hits, including two homers, and six runs.

Once again, Arrieta was the victim of poor infield defense. Three of the runs he allowed were unearned after second baseman Cesar Hernandez muffed what would have been a double play to get Arrieta out of the top of third inning.

After Hernandez’s error, Arrieta got the second out of the frame. He could not get the third before giving up a hard-hit two-run single to Gleyber Torres and an RBI hit to Greg Bird. 

Arrieta gave up single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings. Two of those runs came on solo homers.

After a tremendous month of May, Arrieta had a miserable month of June. He went 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in five starts. He gave up 32 hits, including seven home runs, in 25 2/3 innings. He allowed 27 runs, 19 of which were earned. The eight unearned runs show just how poor the defense was behind him.

In May, Arrieta went 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA in five starts. He gave up just three earned runs in 30 innings.

Phillies hitters have mustered just nine hits against Yankees pitching in two nights and they have struck out 25 times. They are 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position in the series, which wraps up Wednesday night.

The Phils are now 41-36.

Notes
• The Phillies have made 57 errors. Only San Francisco and St. Louis had made more in the National League entering the game.

• Pat Neshek, working his way back from shoulder and forearm injuries, gave up two hits and a run in an inning of work for Double A Reading on Tuesday night.

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