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Unbelievable loss a Phillies first since ‘03

7-run lead spoiled as 'pen rocked by Marlins
@ToddZolecki
August 24, 2019

MIAMI – The Phillies have suffered bad losses, but they have not suffered a loss like this in almost 16 years. They blew a seven-run lead in a 19-11 loss to the Marlins on Friday night at Marlins Park. It is the first time the Phillies blew a seven-run lead

MIAMI – The Phillies have suffered bad losses, but they have not suffered a loss like this in almost 16 years.

They blew a seven-run lead in a 19-11 loss to the Marlins on Friday night at Marlins Park. It is the first time the Phillies blew a seven-run lead and lost since Aug. 26, 2003, when they lost 14-10 in Montreal, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Vicente Padilla started that game against the Expos at Olympic Stadium. He allowed four runs in six innings before the bullpen collapsed. Vince Velasquez started Friday’s stunner. He blew the Phillies’ entire 7-0 lead in the third inning.

“I’m embarrassed that I couldn’t hold the lead and do my job as a pitcher to help the team,” Velasquez said. “I’m flat out embarrassed on my end. There should be no excuses for that.”

Box score

Velasquez put the collapse in motion, allowing seven runs in 2 1/3 innings. But others were involved. Nick Pivetta allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings, although four of those runs were unearned. Ranger Suárez allowed three in 2 1/3 innings, too. Jared Hughes allowed four in 2/3 innings. Brad Miller missed a ball at third base in the third inning that extended the inning. Maikel Franco had a few more defensive lapses that led to more runs.

What happened to the Phillies? A little more than a week ago they celebrated Bryce Harper’s walk-off grand slam against the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler called the victory the best of the season.
Was Friday the worst?

“I’m not ranking them,” he said. “It wasn’t good enough. We have to play better.”

Just a couple of days ago the Phillies swept the Red Sox in Boston. They hit well at Fenway Park. They pitched well. After the Phillies took a 7-0 lead in the third inning Friday against Miami, they should have cruised to victory. After all, the Marlins have the worst record in the National League and entered the series on a six-game losing streak, having been outscored, 34-13.

But the Phillies have struggled against the Marlins. They are 6-8 against them this season. Meanwhile, the Braves (15-4), Nationals (10-3) and Mets (11-4) have owned Miami.

“You recognize that it’s unacceptable,” said Kapler, asked how he reconciles the Phillies’ play in Boston vs. their play against Miami. “I think you just call that out. We have to do a better job. We have to find ways to do a better job and then we have to quickly turn the page and come back and be ready to play tomorrow. Probably the most important thing we can do right now is have a short memory. Understand that this one sucks and that we have to protect an early lead and be better than that and then come back tomorrow and be ready to play again.”

Velasquez entered Friday as arguably the Phillies’ second-best starter. He had a 3.82 ERA in his past seven starts, although he pitched more than 5 2/3 innings just once in that stretch. But the fact Velasquez might slide behind Aaron Nola at this point as the team’s No. 2 starter, despite volatile inconsistencies, illustrates just how shorthanded the Phillies’ pitching staff is entering the final 35 games of the season. In fact, it seems to be why they stuck with him when he got into trouble in the third.

Velasquez started the inning hitting Lewis Brinson with a 0-2 fastball. Four batters later, he hit Brian Anderson with a first-pitch fastball with the bases loaded to score the Marlins’ first run.

Isan Diaz hit a three-run homer three batters later to tie the game.

“I think you wanted to display some confidence in a pitcher that’s been pretty good for us,” Kapler said about his decision to leave Velasquez in the game. “Give him a chance to get out of that. Give him a chance to give us a little bit of length and not have to burn through the bullpen. At that point we had still all agreed he was our best option to get outs. He just wasn’t able to get it done.”

The Phillies haven’t gotten it done against the Marlins all season. If they finish a game or two out of the NL Wild Card, losses like Friday’s will be a reason why.

“I take full responsibility for the outcome of the game,” Velasquez said. “As a pitcher you want that run support. What more do want than a 7-0 lead and you end up giving it up?”

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .