Five things learned from Phillies series loss to the Blue Jays

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TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 24: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies exits the game as he is relieved by manager Gabe Kapler #22 in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on August 24, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The players are wearing special jerseys as part of MLB Players Weekend. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 24: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies exits the game as he is relieved by manager Gabe Kapler #22 in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on August 24, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The players are wearing special jerseys as part of MLB Players Weekend. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 03: Seranthony Dominguez #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on August 3, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

Seranthony Dominguez continues to struggle

I talked about Seranthony Dominguez when looking back on the Nationals series after he blew his fourth save of the season and his third in August Wednesday night. He was trending downwards before the Blue Jays series, and things only got worse during it.

The Phillies jumped out to a 5-0 lead in Saturday afternoon’s game before letting the Blue Jays back into it, with the game at 6-5 when Dominguez entered the seventh inning. He got a four-pitch strikeout to end the inning and leave the tying run on first, so Gabe Kapler sent Dominguez back out for the eighth.

That decision, while not bad in principle, backfired horrifically. Dominguez simply didn’t have his command once he got back out on the mound, getting just one out while loading the bases. Victor Arano replaced Dominguez, but he allowed a three-run double with all three runs being charged to Dominguez. That rose his ERA all the way to 3.22, almost a full run more compared to his 2.28 ERA before Wednesday.

Thankfully, Dominguez looked much better on Sunday without the pressure on. He pitched the ninth inning with a five-run lead after Tommy Hunter gave up a solo home run in the eighth. Dominguez threw 15 pitches, 10 for strikes, as he got two strikeouts and a pop out to end the game.

While it was good to see Dominguez pitch much better on Sunday, there was little pressure on him, unlike when he had a one-run lead Saturday. We will have to see him pitch like he did Sunday in high-leverage situations several times to restore confidence in him moving forward.

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