The Phillies' pitching staff beyond Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler is a disaster. It doesn't matter how big a lead the Phillies' offense builds or how comfortable a game should be, the implosions keep happening.
The Phillies sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs in the first inning against the Blue Jays in Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader. Vince Velasquez immediately gave two back in the bottom of the first but then actually did settle in.
The Phillies opened the sixth inning with a five-run lead but Velasquez, Connor Brogdon, Hector Neris and the Phillies' defense gave it all away. Toronto scored seven times, aided by Didi Gregorius' two-out error, which should have ended the inning.
The Phillies lost 9-8. They lost earlier in the day on another blown lead. They're 1-5 in their three doubleheaders and have four more.
The Phillies are 0-9 this season when scoring fewer than five runs and games like this help explain why. Their pitching staff just does not have enough stuff to consistently get through games when it doesn't have the luxury of Nola or Wheeler for seven.
In the bullpen, Jose Alvarez and Blake Parker have pitched well, and Adam Morgan has had three strong outings in a row. It's not even close to enough. Phillies relievers have allowed 62 runs in 64⅔ innings.
Let it out, Ricky Bo.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 20, 2020
You already know he's got quite a bit to say following the Phillies' loss to the Blue Jays. pic.twitter.com/JUrEk7LFIH
Huge first inning
The biggest hit in the opening frame was Andrew McCutchen's bases-clearing double.
McCutchen, who had two hits in the inning, has come around since a slow handful of games to start the season. He's hit .318 and driven in 12 runs over his last 12 games, again giving the Phillies a potent leadoff threat with plate selection and pop.
The Phillies went 3 for 22 with runners in scoring position in their opening series against the Marlins. Since then, they've hit .296 with a .915 OPS with RISP.
They went 4 for 6 with runners in scoring position in that big first inning.
Mixed bag for Velasquez
Velasquez was not effective early or against the final two hitters he faced, but in between, he retired 12 of 13. His fastball averaged just a tick under 95 mph, maxed out at 97 and he struck out seven. But the Phillies needed a few more outs than he was able to provide.
Velasquez has gone 13 straight starts without completing six innings.
The Phillies head to Atlanta to begin a stretch of 17 straight games against NL East teams. They have three in Atlanta, an off-day Monday and three in D.C. before coming back home to host the Braves.
Here are the pitching probables for this weekend's series (all games at 7:10 p.m.):
Friday - Aaron Nola (2-1, 2.05) vs. LHP Max Fried (3-0, 1.24)
Saturday - Zack Wheeler (3-0, 2.81) vs. LHP Robbie Erlin (0-0, 5.40)
More on the Phillies
Phillies blow 7-run lead in another absurd meltdown loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia