The Phillies lost the series finale of a three-game set against the Padres, 2-0, on Thursday, keeping their record below .500, at 18-20. Phillies starter Kyle Gibson and the bullpen held the Padres to two runs and 10 hits, but the offense — which was red-hot in Los Angeles — put together another lackluster performance at Citizens Bank Park, tallying eight hits, one walk, and plating no runs.
“I think the approach is still the same, I think the work is still the same, but sometimes in this game the results are not the same, no matter what you do,” said Phillies manager Joe Girardi of the disparity between the two series. “They’re the same guys every day. Some days you’re going to get hits, some days you’re not, that’s the nature of our silly game. It’s just the nature of our game. It’s what happens.”
Thursday’s loss marked the 10th time this season that the Phillies have scored one run or fewer in a game.
“It is [head-scratching],” said Girardi. “And I don’t think we’ve had guys necessarily going as well as they could be. I think for the road trip, we did, and we saw what happened. But we’ve had guys who have had struggles for some substantial periods of time. And it’s really everybody that’s struggled a little bit. But eventually, numbers get back to what’s on the back of a baseball card. They eventually get back there. That’s why they’re averages. These guys have some good times coming.”
The bats are cold … again
Padres starter Yu Darvish held the Phillies to six hits through seven innings, and from there, the Padres bullpen held them to two hits. Over a three-game set against the Padres, the Phillies tallied three runs and 18 hits, a stark departure from previous series in Los Angeles, when they scored a franchise-record 29 runs in Dodger Stadium through their first three games, and racked up 34 hits.
The fact that Bryce Harper was out of the lineup for his fourth straight game after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection certainly didn’t help the Phillies, but his teammates didn’t believe they were pressing in his absence.
The Phillies had two opportunities to take the lead. One came in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, and runners on first and third, Kyle Schwarber struck out (after disputing a few of home plate umpire Erich Bacchus’ calls). Nick Castellanos ended the threat by grounding out.
“I wish I would have gotten the job done there,” Schwarber said of his opportunity in the sixth inning. “That’s the thing that will sit with you. You’ve got to get the job done. You’ve got to put the ball in play. You don’t know what can happen from there, but it is what it is, you just learn from it. You go from there.”
The second missed opportunity came in the bottom of the eighth with two outs. With runners on first and third, Castellanos grounded into a force out at second base. The Phillies went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position for the day.
No support for Gibson
After his worst outing of the season last week, Kyle Gibson looked strong on Thursday against the Padres. Gibson allowed eight hits, two earned runs, no walks, and struck out seven over 5⅔ innings. He has held opposing batters to three earned runs or fewer in six of his last eight outings.
Gibson said after the game that he made an adjustment after his outing against the Dodgers that worked well for him on Thursday afternoon.
“I was closing myself off a little bit,” he said. “And traveling down the mound, over-rotated a little bit. So I tried to square my shoulders up, to make sure that I wasn’t keeping myself too closed off. Then I could rotate through the end of the delivery. Thankfully, I was able to translate that to the mound, because sometimes it takes a couple of weeks to make that kind of adjustment if you aren’t able to get a feel for it. But thankfully, [pitching coaches] Brian Kaplan, Caleb Cotham, and Dave Lundquist saw it, and we were able to make the adjustment.”
It was a relatively uneventful day for the bullpen for the second straight game. Seranthony Domínguez came in for Gibson in the sixth inning and put up a scoreless frame, allowing two hits with no walks. Brad Hand followed Domínguez, pitched a third of an inning, and allowed no hits. And right-handed reliever Andrew Bellatti followed Hand, walking one batter and striking out one in a scoreless inning. Connor Brogdon followed that up with a 1-2-3 inning. Brogdon’s top velocities hit 95 and 96 mph, which still isn’t where he was last year, but is certainly closer.
The Phillies will open a three-game home set against the Dodgers on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Left-hander Julio Urías (2-3, 3.00 ERA) will be on the mound for Los Angeles and lefty Ranger Suárez (4-1, 3.72) will pitch for the Phillies.