The Philadelphia Phillies lost again to the division rival Atlanta Braves as one of their top young starting pitchers made his final 2016 appearance.
The Phillies not only lost another game last night in a 6-4 exta-inning decision to the NL East Division rival Atlanta Braves, but they also lost another young starting pitcher for the rest of the season.
Thankfully this time that starting pitcher was not lost due to injury. This time it was Vincent Velasquez, and the talented young right-hander went out on a good note despite the team’s ultimate loss.
Velasquez reached the 7th inning for just the third time all season, allowing two earned runs on just five hits while striking out eight and walking no one. He threw 62 strikes over 92 pitches in what was probably his second-most impressive outing of the year.
After the game it was announced that Velasquez will now be shut down for the season in an effort to limit his total innings pitched during what has been his first full season in Major League Baseball.
In what has also been his first year in the Phillies organization after coming over as a principle piece in the Ken Giles trade with Houston, Velasquez made 24 total starts, with nine of those resulting in Quality Start performances of six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs allowed.
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That Quality Start total was so low because of his frequent habit of throwing too many pitches and having to be removed early from his outings. That idea of gaining more command through greater control will be his primary point of work moving forward.
“It’s all about learning the game and knowing how to get better for next year,” Velasquez said per MLB.com contributors following the outing. “This game is fun to learn. That’s pretty much all I’m going to do.”
Velasquez, who turned 24 years old back in June, allowed 129 hits over 131 total innings pitched with a 152/45 K:BB ratio. He finishes the year with a 4.12 ERA, 1.328 WHIP, 3.97 FIP, and an ERA+ at the 101 mark.
Adonis Garcia did much of the damage in this one, going 2-4 with a walk, three runs scored, and three RBI batting out of the two-spot in the Braves order. He homered in both the 1st and 6th innings, giving him 13 longballs on the season.
For the Phillies, Maikel Franco had just his second four-hit game of the season. He also recorded four hits back on August 2nd against the San Francisco Giants.
Franco scored on a Cameron Rupp double in the 3rd, and knocked in Aaron Altherr with an RBI double of his own in the 5th inning. Cesar Hernandez chipped in with his 6th home run of the season in the bottom of the 3rd inning.
The Phils held a 4-3 lead into the top of the 8th inning when Atlanta scratched out a run to tie against Hector Neris after the righty reliever committed the cardinal sin of walking the leadoff batter, who ultimately would score that tying run.
In the top of the 10th, Edubray Ramos was touched for the two runs that proved to be the difference in this one. The Phils went down meekly in the bottom of the frame against Braves young flame-throwing reliever Mauricio Cabrera.
With the loss, the Phillies have now dropped all five games on this homestand, and have lost 12 of their last 16 games overall.
There are now just seven teams in all of Major League Baseball with a worse record than the Phils, and the club has seen the Braves pull within 7.5 games in the standings. Atlanta will try to cut further into that deficit in the Sunday afternoon series finale.