The Phillies have opened their last home of the season in a familiar way, losing for the 16th time in their last 20 games against teams over .500.
They simply haven’t been able to compete with their competition since the All-Star hiatus, fattening up clubs like the Nationals, Marlins, Pirates and Reds.
The offense made a brisk effort to make up two huge deficits with a fifth inning of four runs and an eighth of five runs, but still fell. well short in an 18-11 loss to the Blue Jays.
The Brewers helped the Phillies by losing a late lead over the Mets, meaning the Phillies’ lead over the first team out of the playoff race remains 2.5 games.
But it was a brutal night for the Phils’ launch staff, which allowed the Blue Jays to reach base in 27 of 53 plaque appearances and score in eight of nine innings.
“You never want to start a family life like that,” said Bryce Harper. “The start of the launch didn’t make it tonight. You’ll have those breaks, but go until tomorrow.”
Kyle Gibson didn’t pitch well but was also hurt by his defense. Bryson Stott threw a ball on the bench in the first inning for one of his two mistakes. The Blue Jays scored three goals in the opening frame over Matt Chapman’s homer.
They scored two more in the second inning, which began with Kyle Schwarber losing a can of corn under the lights to a Danny Jansen “double”.
Stott made a key mistake in the sixth when the Phillies needed a stoppage inning, throwing a ball to the ground on a routine Vladimir Guerrero Jr. bouncer. It resulted in an unearned run.
The Blue Jays have had seven doubles, one triple, two homers and 21 hits on the night, and this despite Guerrero and Bo Bichette getting a total of 2 out of 11. The only two times in the last 78 years the Phillies have conceded so many races , the successes and those off-base were a 24-4 defeat to the Mets in 2018 and the famous 23-22 victory over the Cubs in 1979.
“It felt like the kind of night where the approach that JT and I had paired with their approach,” Gibson said. “Every pitch I’ve made in the strike zone has been hit by a base hit.”
Amid all the hard-hitting balls from their throwing staff, the Phillies lost center fielder Brandon Marsh, who came out with a knee bruise after running and jumping into the wall in the center left on a brace from Jansen. He will be reevaluated on Wednesday but the Phillies don’t think there is any damage to the ligaments.
Dalton Guthrie replaced Marsh and scored his first major league home run in the fifth inning. Schwarber scored his 40th, a three-point shot in the eighth inning. JT Realmuto went 5 out of 5 with a solo double and ninth inning, his 20th.
This is a hugely important advantage for the Phillies, who are 80-67 with 15 games left. They have another game with the Blue Jays and four with the Braves this week. Both opponents have a lot to play for: Toronto wants to keep its place at the top of the AL wild card standings to preserve their home court advantage in the first round, while the Braves are a match behind the Mets for the lead. division and a first goodbye.
“We end the night in a playoff spot and I think you have to stay in the fight, show up tomorrow and win a game,” Gibson said. “We’re still in the driver’s seat. It still depends on how we do it, not how others do it.”
The Phils will see a good launch all week. On Wednesday they will face Kevin Gausman, who has the best strikeout-walk ratio in the majors. They get a slight break by missing Atlanta’s Spencer Strider (oblique), but it’s a small respite as they’ll face Max Fried instead.
Zack Wheeler makes his comeback Wednesday after missing five starts with a forearm inflammation. It should be a shortened start – two or three innings – before he finally gives way to Noah Syndergaard.
This needs to change quickly for the Phillies to avoid another September slump. They’ve lost five in a row and it’s 7-9 this month.
“You go through a few breaks in the season and this isn’t the best place to go,” Harper said. “But at the same time, we know what kind of team we are. We know we can team up against good teams. Scoring 11 points tonight, you don’t really do it against teams like the Toronto Blue Jays. We lost, but hopefully it is. a springboard towards tomorrow “.
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