Tough change: Giants hit Brogdon's offspeed

April 21st, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- Connor Brogdon grew up outside Fresno, Calif., a three-hour drive from Oracle Park in San Francisco.

He watched a lot of Giants games growing up.

It might be the only way to explain why Brogdon’s changeup vanished in the eighth inning Tuesday night in a 10-7 loss at Citizens Bank Park, leaving him to rely on his fastball. The changeup is Brogdon’s best pitch. It has been remarkably effective since he rejoined the Phillies last September to become one of Joe Girardi’s most trusted relievers. Brogdon tried to protect a two-run lead in the eighth and extend his 15 1/3-inning scoreless streak, the longest by a Phillies’ reliever since 2018.

He allowed a pair of three-run home runs instead.

“That’s the thing,” Brogdon said. “I actually had great feel for the changeup in the bullpen and for whatever reason, it didn’t carry over to the mound. I’m not making any excuses, but growing up in Fresno and watching the Giants, I think there was a lot of adrenaline pumping, seeing some of the guys that I kind of watched growing up on TV and stuff. I found myself getting rushed and I think that’s why the changeup was floating up and away to a lot of left-handed hitters there. I have to find a better way to calm myself down and execute.”

Brogdon threw a 1-0 fastball over the plate to Alex Dickerson, who crushed a three-run home run to right field to hand the Giants a one-run lead, their first lead of the game. He threw a 1-1 fastball over the plate to Wilmer Flores, who ripped a three-run home run to left field.

Girardi finally pulled Brogdon for Ramón Rosso after the Flores homer.

“Connor has been as good as any reliever we’ve had, if you look at this year, if you look at the end of last year,” said Girardi, asked why he left Brogdon in the game. “I actually liked the matchups. He’s been really tough on left-handed hitters, if you look at his history. Just tonight, it didn’t seem like he had great command of his changeup and he made some mistakes. You know, I just felt like he was going to get them out. I did. I really did.”

The loss dropped the Phillies to 8-9 -- the first time this season they are under .500 -- and cinched the series for Gabe Kapler’s Giants.

The Phillies must win Wednesday to avoid a sweep.

“I’m already kind of turning the page to tomorrow’s game,” Kapler said.

Brad Miller’s three-run homer and Alec Bohm’s two-run homer gave the Phillies a 6-3 lead in the fifth, but right-hander Zack Wheeler could not lock it down. He allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

“Tonight’s on me,” Wheeler said. “We had them down early and it’s my job to go out there and limit the damage. That’s what’s frustrating. Being able to cruise and letting them back in it and they carried that momentum that they got off me for the rest of the game so that’s on me tonight.”

And Brogdon. The Phillies still had the lead when he entered the game.

“The only thing I can do is flush it,” he said. “I’ve been in this situation before. This is pretty reminiscent of my [big league] debut. You just have to flush it, come back tomorrow, and be better.”