Phillies come up short in series-opener vs Angels: What went wrong?

Phillies Alec Bohm
Philadelphia Phillies’ Alec Bohm throws his bat after striking out with the bases loaded during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

The Phillies continued their little west coast swing Monday night, kicking off a series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Despite all those different cities, Philly fell short of a Hollywood finish as they threatened in the ninth inning, but fell short, ending a four-game winning streak.

Cristopher Sánchez (1-3, 3.68 ERA) pitched well enough to keep it close for the Phillies offense despite not having his best control. He left the game in the 6th inning with a chance to limit the damage, but Orion Kerkering was unable to keep the runners he inherited from scoring. Back-to-back mistakes in the 7th inning put the proverbial nail in the coffin, and Philadelphia wouldn’t complete the 9th inning comeback, losing for the first time since their last game in Cincinnati this past Thursday. Let’s break it down.

A chaotic 7th inning

After the Angels tied things up in the 6th inning, the Phillies made some noise in the top of the 7th. Garrett Stubbs singled to start things off. He was moving on the pitch and avoided the double play when Kyle Schwarbber grounded out to second base. Trea Turner worked another full count, but also grounded out, with Stubbs moving to third base in the process.

Bryce Harper was walked intentionally, and NL Player of the Week Alec Bohm worked a walk of his own. Up stepped former Angel, Brandon Marsh with a chance to break the hearts of the home fans in Anaheim. But he would fall short – grounding out for the final out, leaving the score tied.

Now comes the rough part for Phillies fans. Seranthony Domínguez came in relief of Kerkering, and he started against the bottom of the lineup. Ehira Adrianza led off the bottom of the 7th with an infield single and advanced to second on a base hit from Zach Neto.

Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto, left, and pitcher Seranthony Dominguez celebrate after a baseball game, Thursday, July 7, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Leadoff hitter and perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout stepped in and moved Adrianza over to third on a ground ball fielder’s choice. To make up for the ground out, Trout promptly stole second base to put 2 runners in scoring position.

Domínguez got a much-needed strikeout of Jo Adell and had Taylor Ward buried with an 0-2 count. He was almost out of the jam before he threw a pitch in the dirt that got by the catcher.

Stubbs attempted to play the carrom off the backstop, but his flip to a covering Domínguez was high. No infielder had moved to cover the middle of the field, and both runners were able to score to give the Angels a 6-4 lead. That second run scoring ended up being the difference in a 6-5 loss.

Other highlights from Phillies vs Angels

The Phillies offense has been nothing short of great the last few weeks, but it did not stay that way throughout. Phillies hitters were patient with a wild Angels staff, drawing 9 walks, but couldn’t come up with a big hit late.

Bohm Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm throws to first base after fielding a ground out by Chicago White Sox’s Andrew Benintendi during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Bohm got things started with a bases loaded single in the first, and added another RBI in the 9th with a sac fly with runners on second and third base. He finished 1-for-3 with 3 RBIs and a walk. Marsh did drive in one run on a first-inning sac fly in his return to Angel Stadium, but did record the final out in the 7th and 9th with opportunities to put runs on the board.

Alec Bohm extended his hitting streak to 13 games, hitting .510 (26-for-51) over that time. He has 27 RBIs this month, which ties him with Ryan Howard for the modern-day franchise record for the most in April. Bohm should get one more chance to pass it tonight.

Not much to say about the pitching, it was a rare rough night for the staff. Kerkering allowed his inherited runners to score, but it was only the second time in his young career he stepped on the mound with runners on. Sánchez and Domínguez both seemed to not have their best stuff. Gregory Soto did get a solid inning of work in, striking out 1 and walking 1 in the 9th.

What’s next?

Philadelphia will send Spencer Turnbull (2-0, 1.33 ERA) to the mound in what will be his last start for the foreseeable future before he heads to the bullpen now that Taijuan Walker has returned from the injured list.

He will be matched with Tyler Anderson (2-3, 1.78 ERA) in a battle of two pitchers off to hot starts. Despite those strong numbers, Phillies hitters may do well tonight. Many of the regulars have had success against Anderson. The top of the lineup – Schwarber, Turner, and Harper – have combined to go 12-for-31 (.387 avg) with 4 HRs and 8 RBIs against him in their careers.

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson