It was another ugly loss for the Phils on Monday night, as they were unable to capitalize on the momentum of taking two of three from the Cubs over the weekend.
Here are three takeaways from the Phillies' 6-3 loss to the Diamondbacks.
1. Little League defense once again
Top of the second inning, the Diamondbacks lead 1-0. Arizona third baseman Josh Rojas hit a lazy fly ball into left field. Kyle Schwarber ran in quicksand tracking this thing, it resulted in a single. Not great, but it’s somewhat expected when you play a guy like Schwarber in left field every day.
What’s not, or at least shouldn’t be, expected is what followed in the same inning. With runners on first and second, Bryson Stott committed an error on a likely double play ball. Play resulted in bases loaded with zero outs as opposed to a runner on third with two outs.
The very next batter, Dbacks shortstop Geraldo Perdomo hit a ball to right field and two runs scored easily. That didn’t stop Nick Castellanos from throwing to the wrong base, attempting to hit the cutoff in a hopeless attempt to cut off the second run as opposed to second base.
Lastly, in the 8th inning, Kody Clemens botched a ground ball at first base while the field was in with a runner on third base. Arizona had their 6th run of the game and put the Phillies away for good.
The brand of baseball the Phillies have played in the field all season has been unacceptable. It lacks focus and fundamentals. It’s a sure fire way to lose games in the Big Leagues. If the Diamondbacks beat the cover off the ball and the Phillies never had a chance, that would be one thing. The fact that the Phillies contributed to beating themselves, and do so often, is disturbing.
2. Wheeler hasn’t been an ace all season
“I think he was better than his line indicates.” Rob Thomson said of Zack Wheeler following his 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K performance. “The only balls they really hit hard were the home runs.”
While he allowed some base runners on weak contact and the defense certainly didn’t help him, he battled with Arizona hitters all night to even make it to the end of the 6th inning in 108 pitches. Topper can put a positive spin on his guy all he wants, but this isn’t the first time Wheeler has thrown this kind of game this season. His ERA has never been above 3 in each of his first three seasons in Philadelphia, it is currently above 4. Trea Turner got this big contract this past offseason. He'll continue to make headlines if he disappoints. However, given the current state of the Phillies rotation, the player that needs to return to form the fastest is Wheeler, who’s been an average pitcher at best this season.
3. The offense continues to be frustrating
The Phillies struck out 12 times on Monday night. The team loves to swing early and counts and give non-competitive at-bats. Trea Turner had his first hit with runners in scoring position in more than a month. Kyle Schwarber is on track to homer 40 times and hit .200. Alec Bohm is in a slump. Brandon Marsh’s hot streak to begin the season is a thing of the past. The Phillies have so much offensive talent and being 20th in runs scored is no way good enough, at a certain point you need to start consistently driving in runs to be taken seriously.
Dan Wilson is a producer for 94 WIP and a contributor for 94WIP.com. You can follow Dan on Twitter @dan_wilson4.
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