Game Recap: Phillies lose series opener to Giants

Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Seranthony Domínguez works against the Colorado Rockies in the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 25, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Philadelphia Phillies (38-17) spent their Memorial Day in the Bay Area and played some ball against the San Francisco Giants (28-27). Unable to get to the Giants’ bullpen or overcome a rough Taijuan Walker start, the Phillies lost 8-4.

The Phillies came into this series against the Giants on the heels of a wonky series against the Colorado Rockies in which they dropped two of the three games, including their last one. After a not-that-great series in the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the majors, they were greeted to the pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park, where they notched their first multi-game losing streak in over a month.

The MDW fireworks came and went

Blake Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young winner, had yet to complete five innings in any of his first four starts this season. The Phillies showed why, racking up the hits and walks after their first time through the order.

The Phils started Whit Merrifield and Cristian Pache in the spots of Bryson Stott and Brandon Marsh. They only got two hitters aboard their first time through the order but ended up pushing Snell’s pitch count to 90 through four innings. After facing just seven batters through the first two innings, he saw 13 in the next two. Randy Rodriguez took over in the fifth inning, ending Snell’s day.

J.T. Realmuto wasted no time extending his hitting streak, using his first at-bat to smack a double, his seventh of the season. His 16-game streak became the second-longest for a Phillies catcher, tailing only Virgil Davis’ 18-game streak in 1933, per Stathead. Although he was stranded, it was a great individual start to his afternoon.

Johan Rojas smacked a single over the infield to lead off the top of the third inning. Kyle Schwarber, in a 3-1 count, snapped his 16-game drought of homers with a two-run Schwarbomb that traveled 404 feet and would have gone into the stands of every park.

Edmundo Sosa smacked a 103.8-mph fly ball to center field that the Giants let get away, allowing the Phils shortstop to make it to third base. His triple put him even with Corbin Carroll and CJ Abrams for the most in the National League. A wild pitch scored him, tying the game at 4-4.

The Phillies notched some hits with the softer contract, too. Rojas recorded a two-hit game that featured an RBI with a bloop single that scored Merrifield, who reached on an error but stole second base to get into scoring position. Schwarber tallied a 15-foot hit with a pop-up right in front of the catcher that no one played.

However, once Snell left the game, the Phillies’ offense came to a screeching halt. Rodriguez threw two perfect innings and Erik Miller, Ryan Walker, and Camilo Doval kept the Fightins off the scoreboard, too. Stott, Marsh, and Kody Clemens were brought in as pinch hitters against Doval in the ninth inning. Marsh notched a double but the potential rally died quickly after that.

Phillies Taijaun Walker
Philadelphia Phillies’ Taijuan Walker pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, May 5, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Walker’s Rollercoaster Start

There were times in this game when Walker got the job done, generating outs and ground balls while keeping the run game tampered down. But he also allowed hard contact far too frequently, costing him a quality start.

No. 99 allowed a line drive on his first pitch but Alec Bohm was in position to make the catch. He then coaxed two groundouts to escape the first inning in just seven pitches, showing the depth of his arsenal early by using four different pitches.

The trouble for the Phillies started in the second inning when he allowed a two-run double to Mike Yastrzemski, who was hit home on a single on the next plate appearance by Brett Wisely. A third straight hit, a single from Luis Matos, led to a talk with pitching coach Caleb Cotham. It took him 28 pitches to complete the second inning.

Walker started to settle in, forbidding any Giants to reach second base over the next two innings before the home team got back at him. After allowing runners on the corners with no outs, a whiffed ground ball from Bohm allowed the tying run to score. A sacrifice fly put San Fran back ahead. The Giants got one more run off of him, an RBI double from the nine-hole hitter, Wisely, before his day ended.

In Walker’s 98-pitch outing, he generated only four whiffs. For context, Snell had 10 in 90 pitches (and also had an average exit velocity four miles per hour lower). Three Giants hitters had multiple hits and only two went hitless with Walker on the mound. Walker came into the season in a precarious spot and after exiting this start with a 5.51 ERA, his spot in the rotation seems even less secure.

Phillies’ Fielding Mishaps

It was one of those days for Bohmer, who committed a pair of errors and wasn’t all that great in the field. Although he has improved defensively and wasn’t alone in making some brutal mistakes, his showing in the hot corner was one to forget — and one that wasn’t offset by much production at the plate, as he tallied one walk and no hits.

On top of missing out on some tough but doable plays, Bohm recorded his first multi-error game of the season. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Bohm let a ground ball from Thairo Estrada get into the outfield, allowing Matos to score from third and letting Wilmer Flores advance to third.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Alec once again bobbled a grounder, this time from Matt Chapman with a runner on first. Adding insult to injury was the fact that that runner, Estrada, got aboard by beating out a throw to first from Bohm. Later that same inning, Merrifield made like a Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver and dropped the ball, squandering a pop fly and loading the bases. Two runs came across to score.

Well, at least now the Phillies have a chance to beat a team with a winning record! They’ll face the Giants on Tuesday at 9:45 P.M. EDT and on Wednesday at 3:45 P.M. EDT before returning home.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)