When the Phillies traded for Jason Vargas, they believed the veteran left-hander would, at a minimum, keep them close in most of his starts.
So much for that.
In three of his nine starts since the trade, Vargas has left a game with the Phillies trailing by four runs. It happened Aug. 7 in Arizona (4-0 in the fifth inning), Aug. 31 against the New York Mets (5-1 in the fifth inning), and again Sunday against the Boston Red Sox (5-1 in the third inning).
“When it comes down to it, you know, you really feel like you’re in a spot where you have to put W’s on the board, and when it doesn’t happen, you feel like you let everybody down,” Vargas said. “Whether it’s one pitch or four pitches or two errors or no errors or a hit that we had or a hit that we didn’t have, at this point, the W is all that matters.”
Vargas hasn't recorded any wins since being acquired for minor-league catcher Austin Bossart in a July 29 trade with the New York Mets. He's 0-3 with a 5.48 earned-run average with the Phillies, who have gone 3-6 in his starts.
In Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Red Sox, Vargas’ undoing came when he hung a curveball to catcher Christian Vazquez for a grand slam in the third inning. Really, though, Vargas struggled throughout the start. He loaded the bases before recording an out in the first inning by allowing a leadoff hit, committing a throwing error, and hitting a batter. He hit another batter to open the third inning before giving up a single, a one-out walk, and Vazquez’s slam.
For the second consecutive start, Vargas didn’t make it beyond the third inning. He has a 7.17 ERA in his last five starts.
Corey Dickerson isn't ready to say that he won't play again this season. But the left fielder also can't be sure when he will play again.
Dickerson has missed three consecutive games with a bruised navicular bone in his left foot. X-rays were negative, and according to manager Gabe Kapler, the Phillies medical staff doesn’t believe he can do further damage by playing. But Dickerson continues to struggle simply to tie his cleats.
“It’s a deep bruise and you’ve got to be able to go out there and withstand 3½ hours of play,” said Dickerson, who is batting .307 with eight homers and an .886 OPS since being acquired in a July 31 trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. “It’s right on the bone where you tie your cleats up, so it’s tough. You do the best we can as a collective group to try to prepare to feel like I can go out there. I’ll continue to work at it.”
Dickerson initially got injured Sept. 3, in Cincinnati when he fouled a ball off his left foot. He tried to play through it but left that game because he was unable to push off his foot when he accelerated to run. The injury flared up again last Wednesday night.
"It's kind of a weird spot to get hit," Dickerson said. "Very unfortunate. You deal with it as the day comes. It could feel twice as better tomorrow. I don't know."