Two key reasons the Phillies got shut out by the Padres

Jul 16, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin (56) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 16, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin (56) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Despite the Philadelphia Phillies having stronger batting stats than the San Diego Padres, the Phillies were shut out in the first game of the series.

On Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the San Diego Padres for the first of a three-game series and were shut out with a 3-0 loss.

Coming off their explosive west-coast road trip, and with strong batting stats in their favor, it was a surprising loss. The Padres have shown strong performance so far this season, but the Phillies seemingly had a chance to score based on their batting stats.

Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer lead the Padres in batting average, both higher than anyone on the Phillies, but there is a significant drop-off beyond those two. Machado and Hosmer have batting averages of .356 and .346, respectively, and the next best on the team is Jorge Alfaro who’s hitting .263.

Excluding Garrett Stubbs, who’s only played in eight games this season, the Phillies lineup averages slightly lower with Alec Bohm on top, hitting .313. However, their numbers stay fairly consistent and are higher than the Padres’ third-best five players down the line.

The overall team averages are also comparable. The Phillies came into this series with a higher collective batting average (.253) than the Padres (.228). The Phillies are also nine runs ahead in total runs scored. On paper, the Phillies have more consistency in their batting lineup, whereas the Padres seem to rely heavily on a couple of highly-skilled hitters.

Unfortunately, despite an apparent advantage, the Phillies were unable to produce a single run in the series opener.

The Phillies ended the game without scoring once

Several factors could’ve contributed to the shutout, but it seems the biggest reason is the dominance of the Padres’ pitching staff. The Phillies had never faced Clevinger or Gore.

When facing a pitcher for the first time, it’s often a total shelling or a complete shutdown. The Phillies faced skilled pitchers in Clevinger, Gore, and Taylor Rogers, and it was largely an unfamiliar matchup. Clevinger spent almost his entire big-league career in the American League and only came back from Tommy John earlier this month, while Gore only has six career games under his big-league belt, making both pitchers new experiences for the Phillies lineup. Clearly, it worked in the Padres’ favor.

This was only Clevinger’s third start since missing the entire 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery. He gave a strong performance over five innings with five strikeouts and no walks. After the first five innings, the rookie Gore came in and pitched three innings and struck out four, allowing no runs or walks. Despite making his MLB debut barely a month ago, he’s proven to be a valuable asset for the Padres. In total, he’s produced 32 strikeouts and nine walks.

In theory, Gore would’ve been most difficult to prepare for, as he’d only pitched five times in his big-league career. He’s been consistently strong, but the sample size of his body of work would have been limited.

The Phillies getting shut out stings, especially after their outstanding offense on the west-coast road trip last week. But now that they’ve faced Clevinger and Gore, hopefully, they’ll hit them harder later in the season series.

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