Punchless Phillies beaten by Rockies
It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Phillies were stringing together their longest winning streak in three seasons. Their recent struggles have already made that seven-game stretch feel like a distant memory.
It was just a couple of weeks ago the Phillies were stringing together their longest winning streak in three seasons. Their recent struggles had already made that six-game stretch feel like a distant memory.
Saturday's loss negated it altogether.
A 5-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park was the Phillies' sixth consecutive defeat and dropped them to a season-worst 13 games under .500. They are the only major-league team with three losing streaks of five games or more, and the season has yet to enter its third month.
A night after mustering just two singles against the Rockies' Chad Bettis, the Phillies managed eight hits, but none with runners in scoring position. Cesar Hernandez's eighth-inning home run snapped the team's 57-inning homer drought.
Their opponents, meanwhile, have hit 13 long balls against them over the six-game skid. The Phillies staff has surrendered at least three homers in each of its last three games and in four of its last five.
The only surprise Saturday was that two of them came off Aaron Harang. The Phillies' No. 2 starter entered his 11th start of the season having allowed two home runs in 651/3 innings. The Rockies' Nolan Arenado and Michael McKenry doubled that total in a three-batter span of the second inning.
Even after the game, and after watching the video, Harang thought both his 2-2 slider to Arenado and 2-2 change-up to McKenry were good pitches.
"Got to give them credit. They were able to stay through it and get a pretty good bat on it," the 37-year-old righthander said.
Harang still salvaged another quality outing. The home runs were two of just four hits he allowed. The cerebral veteran struck out seven over six innings. His 4-5 record pales in comparison to his 2.02 ERA.
"There's only so much [you can control]. Once I let go of the ball it's kind of out of my control," he said. "The guys are out there making great plays. The defense has been playing well. We're just kind of off right now with the bats."
Colorado's Eddie Butler, a 24-year-old righthander who lasted a mere three innings against the Phillies at Coors Field just 10 days earlier, needed only 78 pitches to get through six innings. He gave up one run and four hits.
Opponents have outscored the Phillies by 31-11 over their last six games. Four of their hits Saturday came in the final three innings. A third consecutive 0-for-4 performance from Freddy Galvis dropped his season average to .289. It was .355 during the last homestand. Ryan Howard's first-inning RBI double snapped an 0-for-13 skid. Maikel Franco, who on Sunday might be due for his first day off since his May 15 promotion, has two hits in his last 24 at-bats.
"We have to keep working and not try to think too much and just go after it every day," Galvis said.
The Phillies bullpen, viewed as the team's strength entering the season, allowed three more runs. For the second consecutive game, Luis Garcia served up a home run to Ben Paulsen. The Rockies tagged Ken Giles with a run in the eighth.
"We want to turn it around tomorrow and get on a streak like we were on and see if we can't have a winning streak and turn the record around," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "That's our goal."