June 15, 2016
If you were Pete Mackanin and watching from the perspective of the home dugout at Citizens Bank Park, the best you could have hoped for down two in the eighth inning was the possibility of seeing your set-up man get his groove back.
Instead, Hector Neris served up a booming home from to reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson on his fifth pitch of the night, a 95-MPH fastball over the heart of the plate, and then walked and hit each of the next two batters, and eventually watched both of them circle the bases, too.
Well, how about the newly-minted starting first baseman, who was five nights removed from officially taking over the job before celebrating it with a pair of home runs in Washington. Maybe Tommy Joseph could take a few more encouraging steps forward and give the crowd of 24,753 something to cheer about other than hearing the Bare Naked Ladies on Canadian Heritage Night in South Philly?
Nope. Joseph was 0-for-4. He is hitless in each of his last four games and in a 0-for-17 funk overall.
Maybe Jeremy Hellickson, the veteran acquired to eat innings early and serve as trade bait in July. Could he begin a monthlong run of success that’d help fatten that possible return before the Aug. 1 trade deadline?
Growing Pains isn’t just a cheesy late 80s sitcom with Alan Thicke and Pavel Bure’s future brother-in-law. It might as well be the titled emblazoned on the cover of the 2016 Phillies Video Yearbook (do they still publish those?). Although it might not sell that well with that title.
The young-and-up coming Phillies played some pretty good baseball in the first two months of the season. But then a run of games with the Nationals, Cubs, and Blue Jays greeted them and the Phillies look a bit more like the young and the restless.
Hellickson gave up three runs after walking the first two batters in the fourth inning, Joseph and Neris continued their mini-slumps, and Toronto mashers Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion both homered for the second straight day as the Phils suffered a 7-2 defeat to the defending American League East champions.
"We were in the game until that eighth inning," Mackanin said. "We had our chances. We were only two runs down. The negatives? Three walks and a hit batsmen. They all scored. That was our demise from the pitching aspect."
The Phillies (30-36) have lost six of their last seven games and are a season-worst six games under .500. They have lost 15 of 19 games since the aforementioned run wth the Cubs, Nats, and Jays began on Memorial Day weekend.
The Phillies have gone 6-19 since the last time they won back-to-back games, on May 17-18.
Was there something – anything – positive to pluck from Wednesday’s one-sided game between a veteran team that never stops hitting and mostly unproven team waiting for the bats blossoming on the farm? Sure.
Cody Asche, activated off the disabled list two weeks ago, had his best game of 2016. Asche went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a home run that reached the second deck of the right field bleachers in the Phillies defeat.
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