By: Matthew Mack
The Phillies went back on the road to face the Pittsburgh Pirates for the weekend at PNC Park. The Phils are still three and a half games behind the New York Mets for first place in the NL East.
Friday night, the Phillies did not have it. Bryce Harper missed two fly balls early in the game. Vince Velasquez showed why he should no longer be in the rotation. He had a horrible pitching outing. They could only muster one hit all game. The Pirates took full advantage of the miscues and Velasquez’s terrible pitching. Pittsburgh took care of business early and never looked back. The first two innings is where the majority of the damage was done. Bryan Reynolds started the scoring with an RBI triple. Gregory Polanco followed up with a RBI single. In the second, Ke’Bryant Hayes, the son of former Phillies third baseman Charlie Hayes, and Polanco both hit RBIs. Even though the Phillies had a chance with the bases loaded. They could not capitalize. The Pirates scored two more in the fifth and that was it. They beat them seven-zero.
Saturday was a little bit better. Aaron Nola took the mound and gave the Phillies a much better chance. He went six innings while striking out five. The only blemish was a two run inning in the third. Nola however did help his own cause with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Brad Miller. In the ninth, the Phillies had an opportunity to send the game into extra innings. The Pirates thwarted their plans. With runners on 1st and 3rd and one out, the infield was in. Jacob Stallings hit straight at Alec Bohm at third. With the runner moving on contact, Bohm threw straight home only to have Bryan Reynolds score, beating the tag. Umpires went to the Headphone to check in with New York to make sure the call was right. The result was upheld and the Pirates won three-two in walk off fashion.
Sunday afternoon, the Phillies woke up in this one. Kyle Gibson made his Phillies debut and did not disappoint. In six and two-thirds innings of work, he gave up just two runs and struck out five while surrendering five hits. Philadelphia’s offense exploded from the first inning onward. Nine doubles were hit by the offense which included Realmuto having two doubles. He went five-for-six with four RBIs. Phillies won 15 to-four.
The Phillies had a chance to gain ground in the division and they blew it. Fortunately for them ground was not lost or gained because the Braves and the Mets lost their respective series. With the Phillies going to Nationals Park to face a now gutted Washington Nationals team, they may have a better chance at gaining some ground in the division.