The Philadelphia Phillies dropped the series opener 6-2 to the Miami Marlins on a hot Friday night in Miami. The bats were shut down, totaling only four hits and not really putting up a fight at any point during the game. It took until the fifth inning for the Phillies to get their first hit, a double by Maikel Franco.
After sweeping the New York Mets in a four-game series, the Phillies looked like they had rebounded from their cold streak throughout the month of June. However, they played like they did not show up to Miami, which was disappointing to see from a team that looked like they had regained the confidence and swagger that they had earlier in the season.
The Phillies now stand at 43-39. The Marlins are now 31-49.
Phillies Struggle Against the Marlins
The Marlins (31-49) are one of the MLB's worst teams this season, and yet the Phillies continue to struggle against them, losing their last four games against Miami. The bats were held quiet by Marlins' starter Elieser Hernandez (5 2/3 innings, three hits, two runs, seven strikeouts) outside of a two-run home run by Vince Velasquez.
The Phillies are 5-6 against the Marlins this season. For a team who has clear playoff aspirations, they have to do better than that against a bottom feeder like the Marlins.
Vince Velasquez Shows his Inconsistency
Velasquez was pulled from the game in the middle of the fifth inning after giving up four runs on six hits. He eventually received the loss, dropping his record to 2-5 this season.
Friday's start was an inconsistent one for Velasquez, who showed some positives at times while being hit hard and losing his control on the mound at other times. He began the fifth inning by walking the opposing pitcher, Elieser Hernandez, and was eventually chased from the game after giving up a RBI-single to Garrett Cooper.
His start could have been much worse if not for a good play in the field by Maikel Franco. Franco, on a ground ball to third base with runners on first and second, turned a double play by making the smart decision to step on third and fire the ball over to first just in time to beat Brian Anderson to end the inning.
He did possess his usual strikeout stuff on the mound, striking out six Marlins hitters in less than five innings of work. However, as it usually is with Velasquez, he was hit too hard at times and made a couple bad pitches on the mound. After all, there is a reason why he is only a fringe starter for the Phillies.
Perhaps the best thing that Velasquez did on Friday was to hit a two-run home run to provide the Phillies their first runs of the game in the fifth inning. It was the first homer of his career.
Tommy Hunter's Return From Injury
Hunter, in his season debut (more on that below), pitched a crisp 1-2-3 eighth inning. He looked good on the mound, getting former Phillie Jorge Alfaro to strike out on a pitch outside of the zone. He took only 14 pitches to retire the side, effectively showing why he can be one of the team's best relievers for the rest of the season.
QUOTABLE: "It was really nice to see him [Tommy Hunter] come out and be efficient, attack the strike zone, throw his cutter for strikes," manager Gabe Kapler said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia's postgame show, to reporters after the game. "I thought it was a really good, healthy outing."
JT Realmuto Mired in a Slump
Realmuto has struggled over the last 10 games since returning to the lineup after getting hit in the groin on a foul tip: 4 for 33 (.121) with 3 XBH, 3 BB and 12 strikeouts, including 3 Ks tonight vs. Miami.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) June 29, 2019
Realmuto finished 0-for-4 in Friday's loss to the Marlins. The Phillies simply need more production from Realmuto this seaosn. When they traded for him this offseason, they were expecting to get one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. However, they have yet to see that production for more than a couple games at a time. He is currently hitting .257 with 10 homers and 36 RBI.
- Outfielder Adam Haseley (groin) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list earlier on Friday and was optioned down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. While it might be shocking to some to see him not come back to the major league roster, the Phillies organization opted to give Haseley consistent at-bats at Lehigh Valley instead of having him fight for at-bats for the Phillies.
- Reliever Tommy Hunter (elbow) was reinstated from the 60-day injured list. The Phillies desperately need some bullpen help, and getting Hunter back (he has been out the entire season with a right elbow strain) should provide a big boost. Last season, Hunter finished with a 3.80 ERA in 64 innings of work.