Phillies bullpen struggles in loss to Cardinals

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: St. Louis Cardinals 7, Philadelphia Phillies 6  ❖  Attendance: 21,122

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A win tonight over the St. Louis Cardinals (38-33) would have guaranteed a series victory for the Philadelphia Phillies (38-33). Unfortunately, after quite a bit of back and forth scoring, the Phillies ultimately came out on the losing side. Starter Vince Velasquez was solid, though his line for the game doesn't look that impressive. Over six and 1/3 innings, he allowed four runs on four hits while walking three and striking out eight. However, two of those runs were allowed to score by the bullpen. As a whole, the bullpen was disappointing yet again. Three relievers pitched a combined two and 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits. The Phillies bullpen has allowed at least three runs in four of the last five games, which is simply unacceptable.

There were some bright spots on the offensive front. With his home-run tonight, Odubel Herrera has now homered in four of his last five games. Rhys Hoskins continued to swing a hot bat, getting two more hits and a pair of RBI. Since fracturing his jaw, Hoskins is 14-40 with four doubles, four home-runs, and 14 RBI. Because the Phils added a game to the loss column, the shortcomings of the offense cannot be ignored. The lineup was 1-8 with runners in scoring position and nine runners were left on base. Both of those numbers need to improve as the season progresses.

J.P. Crawford was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fourth and left the game in the fifth inning. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told the media after the game that Crawford had fractured his left hand and would be out for four to six weeks. There hasn't been an announcement about his replacement on the roster yet, but that should happen soon.

WP: Jordan Hicks (3-1, 2.13 ERA)  ❖  LP: Seranthony Dominguez (1-1, 1.61 ERA)

Hub:   Game Summary      Starting Pitchers     At the Plate      Bullpen      What's Next

Game Summary

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
STL 0 0 1 0 1 0 4 0 1 7 8 1
1 0 1 1 1 0 0 2 X 6 9 0

The Phillies took an early lead in tonight's ballgame. Cesar Hernandez led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Left fielder Rhys Hoskins followed with a single to left field. Odubel Herrera moved the runners up on a sacrifice bunt. Hernandez and Hoskins were on third and second, respectively, with one out when Carlos Santana came to the plate. He grounded out to second base, which allowed Hernandez to score. Aaron Altherr walked to put runners on first and second once again, this time for shortstop Scott Kingery. He struck out to end the inning and the two baserunners were stranded.

The Cardinals tied the game in the third. With two outs, Tommy Pham homered to left field. The blast extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Jose Martinez followed with a walk. However, Phils starter Vince Velasquez was able to strike out Marcell Ozuna to end the frame.

The Phils took back the lead in the bottom of the third. With one out, Herrera homered to right field. It was his tenth hit in his last 24 at-bats. The next two batters, Santana and Altherr, were retired on a pop-out and a strikeout for the final two outs of the inning.

The Phillies added on in the fourth. Scott Kingery got things started with a single to right field. Catcher Jorge Alfaro also singled to right. Kingery was able to advance to third on the hit. Velasquez was retired on a sacrifice bunt that moved Alfaro into scoring position. J.P. Crawford was hit by a pitch on the hand to load the bases. Although he remained in the game at the time, Crawford ultimately was replaced by Maikel Franco in the next inning. Hernandez walked with the bases loaded to force in a run. However, the Phils weren't able to capitalize on the opportunity. Hoskins and Herrera were retired on a pop-out and a strikeout, respectively, to end the inning.

The Cardinals got one back in the fifth. Kolten Wong led off the inning with a solo home-run to right field to make it a 3-2 ballgame. The next three hitters were retired in order by Velasquez.

The Phils tacked on another run in their half of the fifth. Just like the Cardinals in the top of the inning, the Phillies led off the inning with a homer. This one was Santana's eleventh of the season. Altherr followed the bomb with a single to third. Kingery reached on an error by Cardinals shortstop Yairo Munoz. Alfaro popped out for the first out of the inning. Velasquez grounded into an inning-ending double play and the Phils were forced to settle for the one run.

The Cardinals made a comeback and took the lead in the seventh. With one out, Munoz singled to left. Wong was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. It was then that the Phillies decided to make a pitching change, opting to bring in reliever Tommy Hunter. That would end up being a costly mistake. After retiring pinch-hitter Greg Garcia, Hunter allowed a double to Matt Carpenter. Both of Velasquez's runners scored on the hit to tie the game at four runs apiece. Pham followed with a single, on which Carpenter moved up to third. Then, Martinez doubled into the left-center field gap to score both Carpenter and Pham. Hunter was able to strike out Marcell Ozuna for the final out of the inning, but it was too late. The damage had already been done.

The Phillies made a comeback of their own in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Jesmuel Valentin worked a walk against Cardinals reliever Austin Gomber. After a pop-out by Franco, Hernandez singled to right field. The Cardinals decided to make a double switch, bringing in hard-throwing reliever Jordan Hicks and outfielder Harrison Bader. Hoskins greeted the righty with a double to right-center field. Valentin and Hernandez both scored to tie the game. However, Hoskins was stranded at second, as Herrera grounded out to end the inning.

The Cardinals took back the lead in the ninth, this time for good. After striking out the first two batters he faced, Phils reliever Seranthony Dominguez allowed a solo homer to Carpenter. This blast marked Carpenter's third straight game with a home-run. Pham was retired on a groundout to end the inning. That single run ended up making all the difference, as the Phillies were retired in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.

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Starting Pitchers

Luke Weaver 5.0 6 4 4 4 4 2 4.69
Vince Velasquez 6.1 4 4 4 3 8 2 4.82

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At the Plate


  • Matt Carpenter: 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, .239 AVG
  • Tommy Pham: 2-5, 2 R, HR, RBI, .272 AVG
  • Kolten Wong: 1-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, .194 AVG


  • Carlos Santana: 1-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, .226 AVG
  • Odubel Herrera: 1-4, R, HR, RBI, .292 AVG
  • Rhys Hoskins: 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI, .251 AVG

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  • John Brebbia (6th): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 3.08 ERA
  • Greg Holland (7th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 8.79 ERA
  • Austin Gomber (8th): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 4.50 ERA
  • Jordan Hicks (8th, 9th): 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 2.13 ERA


  • Tommy Hunter (7th): 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 4.79 ERA
  • Yacksel Rios (8th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 5.00 ERA
  • Seranthony Dominguez (9th): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR, 1.61 ERA

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What's Next

  • Wednesday, June 20, 2018: vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1:05 p.m.
    • Philadelphia – Citizens Bank Park
    • RHP Michael Wacha (8-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (5-5, 3.33 ERA)
    • TV: NBCSP; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WSAN AM 1470, WTTM 1680

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