The Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
For the first time since late April, the Phillies wake up this morning as a losing baseball team. The club now sits at 26-27, and are 6.5 games behind first place Washington following last night’s 7-2 win by the Nats at Citizens Bank Park that gave the visitors a series sweep.
Adam Morgan took the loss with yet another ineffective outing. The lefty allowed six earned runs on nine hits, striking out six and walking no one.
Morgan (1-4) kept the club in the game into the 6th inning before coming apart at the seams. To that point, he trailed just 2-0 after yielding single runs in the 1st and 4th frames.
With two out in the top of the 1st, Morgan hit the white-hot Daniel Murphy on the forearm with a pitch, causing Murphy to bark at him.
Murphy would then get some measure of satisfaction, racing all the way around on a double by Ryan Zimmerman that put the visitors up 1-0.
“Too many mistakes out over the plate, up in the zone.” ~ Mackanin, on Morgan
To that point, Morgan had allowed the two runs on five hits. But then came the fateful top of the 6th, and Morgan’s battering at the hands of the Nationals.
Zimmerman and Rendon began the frame with back-to-back singles. Then Ramos stepped in, driving a 1-0 pitch deep out over the right field wall for a three-run homer that broke the game open.
Two batters later, Danny Espinosa homered to left-center, and the Nationals had blown their lead out to 6-0.
Morgan would be lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the frame, as newcomer Jimmy Paredes made his Phillies debut. Joining the pitiful offensive output of his new teammates, Paredes struck out against Max Scherzer.
Murphy would triple with one out in the top of the 7th off Phils’ reliever Brett Oberholtzer, then sprint home on a sac fly by Zimmerman to make the score 7-0.
The Phillies finally got on the board against Scherzer (6-4) in their half of the 7th when Tyler Goeddel drove his 3rd home run of the season, a two-run shot that fashioned the ultimate final score of 7-2.
With some of the interesting prospect arms in the Phillies minor league system nearing their shot at the big leagues, yet another poor outing has Morgan’s spot on the big league roster in jeopardy.
“Morgan, he seems like he’s on the verge of getting through it, but then he makes mistakes,” manager Pete Mackanin said per MLB.com’s Evan Webeck. “Too many mistakes out over the plate, up in the zone.”
Phillies pitching simply cannot afford to make too many mistakes at this stage of the rebuilding team’s development, as they received consistently little offensive support.
But those pitchers have to show that they can at least hold up their own end, bearing down for six innings or so, keeping the team in the game without letting things get out of control.
Morgan’s ERA ballooned to an unacceptable 7.07 mark after this one. He has allowed 44 hits over his 35.2 innings, including seven home runs. And he isn’t overpowering anyone, producing barely acceptable 24/10 K:BB ratio.
In three of his last four outings, Morgan has allowed at least a half-dozen runs in six innings or fewer. It has become clear that he is simply not ready, if he ever will be, to be a winning big league pitcher.
The Phillies have lost five straight games, three consecutive series, and are 4-12 over the last three weeks of play.
Any talk of miracle contending is out the window, and this group needs to get it together now just to salvage a shot at a .500 season. With the 24-29 Milwaukee Brewers coming to town for a four-game weekend series, that shot would appear to be coming now or never.