More Sports:

June 20, 2016

0-for-a homestand: Phils fall again, suffer four-game sweep to D-backs

The Phillies homestand was so painful that a trio of nuns drinking Miller Light and taking selfies on Monday afternoon was easily the highlight of the six-game stay at Citizens Bank Park.

But their sister act, much like the Phillies offense in recent years, went sour, too. The trio of nuns wasn't a trio of nuns at all – is anything real anymore?? – but instead a trio of actresses at the ballpark to promote "Sister Act," which is playing at the Walnut Street Theatre.

Ah, but it was a nice diversion regardless, even when the skit went full-tilt with them dancing on the dugout with everyone's favorite native of the Galapagos Islands, the Phillie Phanatic. Thanks, nuns! 

As one clever person on Twitter pointed out – before we knew we were all duped – there were more nuns than runs from the home team. Which shouldn't qualify as surprising since the Phillies are averaging a major league-worst 3.11 runs per game in 2016.

The Phillies futile bats finally arrived on the scene in the ninth inning on Monday afternoon, but their last-ditch effort came up empty, too. The Diamondbacks scored three times in the first inning against Jeremy Hellickson and held on for a 3-1 win over the Phils.

The Phillies (30-41) have lost 11 of their last 12 games. They've been outscored 83-23 in those 11 losses.

The Phils have lost seven straight, including all six games on a homestand that saw the Toronto Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks treat Citizens Bank Park like an afternoon of batting practice. The Phillies were outscored 42-9 by the Jays and D-backs. 

It's the first time since – wait for it – September of 1964 at Connie Mack Stadium that the Phillies failed to get a win in a homestand of six games or more.

"It's disappointing to lose at home or the road," said Hellickson, who gave up consecutive hits to Arizona's Jean Segura (double), Paul Gosselin (single), Jake Lamb (home run), and Rickie Weeks (double) before he recorded his first out 10 minutes into the game.

"An 0-6 homestand is never fun," the veteran pitcher continued. "But we just have to move on."

The Phillies scored a grand total of five runs in their four-game series with Arizona. They have not scored more than two runs in a game since last Tuesday in Toronto, when they scored a whopping three runs in an 11-3 shellacking.

Since they arrived in Chicago for a Memorial Day weekend series at Wrigley Field, the Phillies have lost 20 of their last 24 games. The Phillies have a -75 run scoring differential in those 24 games (63 runs scored, 138 runs allowed).

"I’m not giving up," said manager Pete Mackanin, whose predecessor, Ryne Sandberg, actually did give up at this point (74 games into the season) last year. 

"These guys, there is a lot of good," Mackanin continued. "They can do some things. We’ve proved that in the first two months of the season. I’m just going keep pushing them to get back to where we were, and to improve."

That didn't happen Monday afternoon. But at least the Phillies faithful had (fake) nuns.

  • Vince Velasquez is expected to begin an official rehab assignment at Double-A Reading on Wednesday. Velasquez, who was placed on the disabled list with a right biceps strain on June 10, threw two bullpen sessions without issue over the weekend at Citizens Bank Park. 
   The 24-year-old right-hander could rejoin the Phillies rotation as soon as next week in Arizona, although it's safe to assume the team will take a cautious route with Velasquez, who pitched more than 100 innings in just one season (in 2013 in A-ball) while dealing with a variety of injuries since he was drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Houston Astros.

  • Jeremy Hellickson looked in line for a short afternoon when he came out of the gate and allowed four straight hits (and three runs) before he could record an out on Monday. But the 29-year-old veteran bounced back nicely, giving the Phillies a quality start: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 K, 0 BB, 1 HR. 
   Hellickson retired 10 straight batters to finish off his afternoon (and 20 of 22 batters after giving up the aforementioned four hits to begin the game).
   "(He allowed) three runs," Mackanin said. "We couldn’t score four runs. Under normal circumstances, we might have 10 more wins with a better offense."

  • Dalier Hinojosa began a rehab assignment at Class A Clearwater on Monday. Hinojosa was placed on the DL with a right hand contusion on April 30.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21