Weakened bullpen hurts Phillies in late loss at Wrigley Field

Phillies bullpen falters in Chicago
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler arrived at Wrigley Field on Tuesday knowing his bullpen was short on bullets and that's ultimately why the Phillies fell to the Cubs in the second game of a four-game set, 3-2.

Javier Baez hit a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning off reliever Juan Nicasio to highlight a two-run frame that lifted the Cubs to a victory that halted the Phils four-game winning streak.

Nicasio recorded the save for the Phils on Monday, but faltered on Tuesday and surrendered a 2-1 lead. Kris Bryant opened the frame with a walk, and Anthony Rizzo followed with a double. With one out and runners on second and third, Jayson Heyward was walked to load the bases. Albert Almora Jr. then proceeded to hit a chopper that Nicasio pounced on, but he was slow in getting his toss to the plate allowing Bryant to score to even the contest at 2-2. Baez then followed with a single to end the contest.

“We had a lot of confidence in Nicasio," Kapler said. "We had been asking a lot of him, but the way he’s been throwing the ball, we felt confident he could get the job done. It’s a tough part of the lineup to go through for any pitcher.”

Luckily for the Phils, starter Zach Eflin tossed six strong innings while surrendering just one run. Relievers Edgar Garcia and Jose Alvarez combined to throw two scoreless innings, allowing the Phillies to carry a lead into the final frame.

Pat Neshek, Hector Neris, Seranthony Dominguez, and Adam Morgan were all unavailable from the outset.

“We were strict in wanting to give those guys a blow,” Kapler said. “They’ve all been working really hard, both in the 'pen and getting up and also getting into games consistently.”

Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, the Phillies got on the board with an Andrew McCutchen two-run single. Bryce Harper finished the contest 0-for-4, dropping his batting average on the season to .224.

The two clubs resume their set on Wednesday night as Cole Irvin faces former Phillies hurler Cole Hamels. It'll mark the first time in his career Hamels will have faced Philadelphia.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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