Jul 4, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez (27) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Roberto Hernandez kills the Philadelphia Phillies momentum as they fall to the Pittsburgh Pirates

They say that momentum in baseball lasts as long as the next day’s pitcher. Yesterday, Roberto Hernandez showed how true that is.

With the Phillies coming off an encouraging ninth-inning comeback against the Miami Marlins, Hernandez took the ball against the Pirates and proceeded to let them bat around in the first inning. The four-run inning essentially sealed the Phillies fate as they went on to lose 8-2.

It might have been discouraging to be placed in an early hole, but the Phillies’ offense didn’t exactly have a great showing either. They only managed two (TWO!) base hits in the game. They scored two runs mostly due to the wildness of Pirates reliever Stolmy Pimentel.

With starter Gerrit Cole forced to leave the game early due to soreness, Pimentel entered the game in the sixth inning and pitched his way into trouble. He walked three batters and allowed a single before Marlon Byrd let him off the hook by hitting into a double play. The Phillies scored a run on the play, but the threat was basically over.

The game did feature an appearance by former Phillies pitcher Vance Worley. The “Vanimal” didn’t pitch in the game, but rather served as a pinch hitter in the sixth. Fortunately for the Phillies, he didn’t add insult to injury, and merely grounded out.

As Cliff Lee inches closer to a return, it’s worth wondering how much longer Hernandez will be a part of the rotation. He’s carrying a 4.48 ERA and his first inning struggles have been tough for the Phillies offense to overcome. He might need to pick up his game if he wants to remain as a starter.

His chief competition for that spot may be David Buchanan who will start in today’s game against the Pirates. Let the battle for the fifth spot begin!

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