Phillies vs. Red Sox: Bailey Falter flounders as Phillies extend season-long losing streak to 6 games
Falter flounders as Phillies extend season-long losing streak to 6 games originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Every baseball team needs a stopper from time to time. A starting pitcher who can step in when all hell is breaking loose around him and pitch so well that he can almost singlehandedly guarantee his team a much-needed win.
Code Red. The Phillies desperately need that guy STAT. Right now. ASAP. Immediately if not sooner.
A 7-4 defeat to the Red Sox on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park extended their season-long losing streak to six games. Which isn’t really surprising considering that the starter’s earned run average in that stretch is 9.91.
What was stunning was how quickly everything but the massive new leftfield scoreboard crashed in on starter Baily Falter after he retired the first nine Red Sox hitters he faced, striking out four. Seven of the next nine batters reached base before he headed for the showers after first being showered by boos from the sellout crowd of 43,832.
A single by Rob Refsnyder, a double by Alex Verdugo and a walk to Justin Turner loaded the bases with nobody out. Rafael Devers doubled, driving in two. Falter came close to limiting the damage with two quick outs. But before he could close the door back-to-back-to-back singles by Christian Arroyo, Raimel Tapia and Reese McGuire gave the Sawx all they’d need to win their eighth straight.
What changed? “I honestly don’t know what happened,” he said tersely. “All I know is I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
How frustrating was the outing? “Very frustrating,” he said. “It’s not a good feeling going out there and letting your team down every start.”
Falter is far from the worst pitcher in baseball this season. But he’s the only one off to an 0-6 start.
Manager Rob Thomson looked at some tape of Falter’s outing after the game. “It just looked like the first time through he got to two strikes and finished people off. Second time through he got to two strikes and left some balls in the middle of the plate. Didn’t expand the strike zone. Didn’t finish them off. At least, that’s what I saw.”
J.T. Realmuto saw the same thing “They seemed like they had a good approach that second time through the order and they were just not missing his fastball,” the catcher said.
Realmuto had no specific explanation for why the entire rotation has been struggling. “I guess every guy’s been a little different,” he said. “We’re just not being consistent enough. Falling behind a little too often. Giving a lot of three-ball counts. And it’s not all the time. It seems like it’s one inning every outing where we just kind of lose focus.
“For the most part, the guys have thrown the ball well. Just once things start happening it seems to tumble pretty quickly and snowball on us. So we just have to find a way when we get guys out there (on base) to slow it down as best we can. It seems like right now everything’s just speeding up on us.”
Said Thomson: “We just have to keep playing better, preparing better, executing better. I have full faith in all of them. We just have to do a better job.”
Falter is still scheduled to make his next start. Ranger Suarez is expected to return from the injured list after another rehab start, but he’s slotted to replace Matt Strahm in the rotation. There are no other obvious options at the moment.
Code Red. The Phillies need a stopper and righthander Tijuan Walker (2-2, 6.91) will have his chance to play that role Sunday afternoon in the series finale. He’ll be opposed by Boston RHP Tanner Houck (3-2, 5.34).
“I have all the confidence in the world in him,” Realmuto said. “He’s kind of the same as the rest of the guys. He’s just got to attack. He’s got really good stuff. Get ahead of guys and put them away. I’ve got confidence in his stuff and ability to get outs. Now it’s up to us to go out and do it.”