You could make a shorter list out of the things that went right when you talk about the Philadelphia Phillies hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, July 15th. The Phillies lost 16-2 to the Dodgers after coming off of a series that was blown against the Washington Nationals a couple of days earlier. It isn’t just one game where it looks really ugly. It is a sequence of events that has all of Philadelphia wanting to pull their hair our of their heads.
With all the money that was spent this off-season to build a line up at the plate, which isn’t effective enough, the only addition to the pitching was David Robertson. That is awful. The pitching hasn’t been as good as it has needed to be for almost a decade now. In the time it takes a student to get a Bachelor’s Degree, the only pitcher that has worked out in the starting rotation is Aaron Nola. The last good pitcher in the bullpen may have been Jonathan Papelbon. Sure, you can look at the standing and say the Philadelphia Phillies are still in it, but with the performance, they are not.
On Saturday night, Aaron Nola was on the mound against the Washington Nationals and left the game with a 3-1 lead. To close the game, Hector Neris took the mound. Just when it seemed that Neris could get the save, he gave up a two-run home run to Juan Soto to spoil a win for Nola, blow a save, and effectively hand over the series win. The next day, the Philadelphia Phillies won, 4-3 against the Nationals. However, that Saturday game was a disappointing loss that shouted the same sentiments I have been: the bullpen isn’t reliable, ever.
On Monday night, in that 16-2 loss, the Los Angeles Dodgers wiped the floor with the Philadelphia Phillies in every way imaginable. With the feeling that everyone had after Bryce Harper was signed in the off-season, it’s pretty straightforward when I say that the Phillies faithful at Citizens Bank Park deserve better. Gabe Kapler and some other players didn’t even acknowledge the embarrassment that was. After last night’s game, Kapler said “it’s certainly not encouraging” in reply to being asked if the loss was embarrassing. Harper replied, “no, it’s just one game.” Zach Eflin stated, “we’re all calm, there’s no need to panic, we know how good we’re gonna be.” It’s a total lack of awareness, urgency, but not a lack of delusion. When you cannot admit that a loss is embarrassing, when you should because it was, that is bad leadership. Harper saying this is just one game is flat out wrong. Then Eflin, who says “how good we’re gonna be;” it’s almost August. “Gonna be” better be Tuesday, July 16th, when I attend the game.
I have to respect the Los Angeles Dodgers for continuing to hustle when they were up by more than ten. They didn’t run up the score, so leave that excuse at the door. The Philadelphia Phillies last night put their tails between their legs and went back into the locker room. Maikel Franco may have been the hero on Sunday, but he wasn’t hustling on Monday. He had a groin pull but chose to stay in the game. If you chose to stay in the game, don’t replicate what Jean Segura has got heat about.
That was a loss for the entire Philadelphia Phillies franchise, inside and out. The players on the field, the manager, and the front office in one game looked foolish against a good team. Whether it was not being able to count the correct number of outs in an inning, at baseball’s most fundamental, or sending a position player to pitch, this series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers was horrid. Sending Roman Quinn on the mound to pitch was Philadelphia throwing in the proverbial white towel in that ballgame. There wasn’t much fight on Monday, but there was a lot of quit.
At the end of the night, there were no “High Hopes,” just “Thank You, Phillies” chants from Los Angeles Dodgers fans. Yes, you read that correctly. Dodgers fans took over Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. It was an absolute takeover, on the field and in the stands. Today, Vince Velasquez is on the mound against Walker Beuhler. Already, on paper, this matchup favors Los Angeles. With the way Velasquez pitches, this is going to be a game where the Philadelphia Phillies are going to have to rely on their bullpen. Any time the Phillies are forced to rely on the bullpen, the bats need to wake up and fielding needs to be flawless. If Philadelphia can reverse every detail from Monday to today’s game, then maybe they have a chance to be in the ballgame in the later innings.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports