ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rangers’ first at-bat with runners in scoring position didn’t come until the sixth inning. Marcus Semien hit a one-out double off Kyle Gibson, and Corey Seager stepped up to the plate and drove him in with a single on the first pitch he saw, a cutter at the top of the zone. Semien scored to extend Texas’ lead to three runs.
The Rangers had only that one at-bat with runners in scoring position on Tuesday night and capitalized on it. The Phillies had nine opportunities, didn’t capitalize on any of them, and lost 7-0.
They could have gotten on the board in the first inning, when Kyle Schwarber singled and Rhys Hoskins walked. But Nick Castellanos grounded into a double play and J.T. Realmuto grounded out to end the threat..
They had another chance in the fifth, when Yairo Muñoz singled and Hoskins walked to put runners on first and second with two outs. But Castellanos grounded out again, and another opportunity was wasted.
Their last opportunity came in the sixth, when Realmuto and Alec Bohm singled to put runners on first and second with one out. But Matt Vierling was robbed by left fielder Kole Calhoun on a sinking liner and Johan Camargo flied out to center to end the inning.
Gibson did enough to keep his team in the game — pitching 6⅓ innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs with four strikeouts and no walks — but the Phillies’ offense scored no runs to back him up. They finished their night with only six hits.
“[Martín] Pérez knows how to minimize damage,” interim manager Rob Thomson said of the Rangers’ left-handed starter who allowed six hits and three walks in six innings. “That’s why he was pitcher of the month in the American League. We got baserunners, we just couldn’t get them in. And that happens. I just tell the guys, just keep getting baserunners. Eventually, it’s going to happen. We’re going to score.”
Part of this is because their best hitter with runners in scoring position, Bryce Harper, is out of the lineup with an infected blister on his left index finger. Harper is hitting .370/.433/.796 with a 1.229 OPS in those scenarios. Hoskins has the team’s second-best OPS with runners in scoring position, and it’s considerably lower (.786).
“You take your MVP out of the lineup, it’s going to shorten the lineup a little bit,” Thomson said. “But guys have to step up and do the job.”
An offense this potent should be able to capitalize on these opportunities with or without Harper. But his absence over the past three games has been notable. In Washington, the Phillies went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Sunday and 2-for-8 on Saturday. Harper is scheduled to return Wednesday, but regardless, they’re going to have figure this out. With the Padres, Braves and Cardinals on deck, it doesn’t get easier from here.
Gibson, in first start this season against his former team, cruised through his first four innings. He allowed just two hits, no runs and no walks over that span, but then hit a snag in the fifth inning, when he allowed back-to-back home runs to Nathaniel Lowe and Jonah Heim.
“Overall, fairly happy [with the outing],” said Gibson. “It was frustrating, they hit a couple of pitches pretty hard that I felt like I threw pretty well. The first pitch to Lowe, if he’s looking out over, he’s a good enough hitter to do that, and I just didn’t get it down and away enough. And then I felt like the changeup to Heim was a pretty good pitch and he did a good job of going down and getting it.
“Other than that, they had that one inning where they pieced together that double with Semien, for that third run, but overall I felt really good. If I can get through six or seven innings and not walk guys and attack the strike zone, I’ll take my chances.”
It was a solid performance — with a couple of mistake pitches that cost him — but it was nowhere near as solid as his previous outing against the Marlins. In that outing, Gibson went eight innings, helping Thomson preserve a fatigued bullpen, and allowed only seven hits and one earned run with no walks.
Familia’s rough outing
It’s getting hard — maybe impossible — to trust reliever Jeurys Familia. Two outings ago, on June 14 against the Marlins, he gave up three earned runs over one-third of an inning. When he came into the game in relief of Gibson on Tuesday, a win was still in reach for the Phillies. They were only down 3-0. But by the time he exited, 1⅓ innings later, all hope was lost due to two-run homers by Calhoun and Semien in the eighth inning. Familia allowed four earned runs, four hits and one walk.
Thomson said that he noticed Familia’s velocity was a little bit down on Tuesday, but doesn’t believe it’s the result of a health issue.
“We ask these guys every day how they’re feeling,” Thomson said. “I’m not sure what it is. It’s a tick down, and that affects his sink and his secondary pitches.”
“Everything is elevated right now,” Thomson added. “He’s making some bad pitches. We’ll just keep working at it.”
After Tuesday night, Familia has a 5.55 ERA over 24⅓ innings this season. Familia said after the game that he believes the main problem he’s had this year is in locating his pitches.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” he said. “I’ve been in the league for a long time. They signed me to [pitch in high-leverage situations], so it is frustrating.”