Phillies' bullpen carries load in loss
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies bullpen carried the team in Thursday night's 8-7 11-inning loss to the Brewers, putting the Phillies in position to steal one win out of this four-game series.
But being in position to win and winning are not one in the same.
After starting pitcher Chad Billingsley allowed seven runs, six earned, in five innings, the Phillies bullpen tossed five shutout innings of relief. The trio of Justin De Fratus, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon allowed four hits and walked one while striking out five and only allowed one runner to advance further than first base. By continuing this shutout trend into the 10th, Papelbon recorded six outs in a game for the first time since July 21, 2012.
Eventually the bullpen surrendered the winning run when an 11th-inning double by Jonathan Lucroy followed two batters later by an Adam Lind RBI single stuck relief pitcher Luis Garcia and the Phillies with the loss. But despite this, Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said he was pleased by his bullpen's performance.
"Bullpen was fantastic," Mackanin said. "De Fratus looked real good. Papelbon obviously looked real good. It was disappointing to lose, but there were a lot of positives to come out of that."
The positives of which Mackanin spoke were limited not only to the bullpen, but also to the offensive output. The Phillies' offense scored seven runs on 16 hits, coming just two hits shy of a season high. Four different Phillies -- Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez, Cody Asche and Freddy Galvis -- finished the night with three hits apiece and that quartet combined to drive in five of the seven runs.
But, as has been the problem many times for the Phillies this year, one phase was lacking. As strong as the bullpen was and as well as the team hit, the starting pitching wasn't there. As a result of this lack of cohesion through 81 games, the season's halfway point, the Phillies have won 33.3 percent of their games (27-54), their worst start since 1997.
To Galvis, the fix is simple. This team needs to get on the same page.
"We have to put everything together," the shortstop said. "Sometimes it's the hitting, sometimes it's the pitching. But to be a winning team I think we have to put everything together."