Bullpen dooms Phillies in loss to Yankees

Phillies fall to the Yankees
Considering the layoff since the club last took the field, the Phillies pieced together a strong effort on Monday night on the road at Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, the bullpen couldn't hold the potent Yankees lineup in a 6-3 defeat.

Jake Arrieta, making his first start for the Phillies since last August, pitched well. He surrendered three runs over five innings, walked none, and struck out four. He was bitten, however, by the long ball and surrendered a pair, including a leadoff blast to DJ LeMahieu in the first.

Deolis Guerra walked Aaron Hicks, hit Giancarlo Stanton with a pitch and surrendered three-run shot to Gio Urshela in the sixth that ultimately put the game out of reach for the Phils.

Through four games, the bullpen is carrying a 6.75 ERA, the second-highest mark in baseball.

“I think it’s really hard to judge our bullpen right now just because we haven’t played in a week, eight days,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Some of these guys haven’t worked in eight or nine days. We try to get them as much work as we can, but it’s still not game conditions.

“You ask all relievers, they want consistent work. They don’t want to sit for a week and then expect to go out there and have pinpoint control and have a good feel for their breaking ball and whatever other pitches they have. I think they need some consistent work before we really make a judgment.”

With Tuesday's rainout, the Phillies are now expected to play 56 games in 54 days. A gargantuan task last accomplished by the 1998 Yankees.

“It seems like the deck is stacked against us, but that doesn’t matter,” Arrieta said. “There’s only one way to handle it and it’s prepare the best way we can physically and keeping our bodies in a position where we can make those things happen. We have guys that can do that. Our guys are all physical.”

Girardi will have Aaron Nola (Game 1) and Zack Wheeler (Game 2) each pitch on Wednesday when the Phillies return to action with the Yankees, meaning the club will likely have to make a roster decision to find a starter for Sunday's game with Atlanta.

Could top pitching prospect Spencer Howard make his big league debut?

“Our discussions have been more about how he’s doing opposed to an exact date if we’re going to call him up,” Girardi said. “It’s been more how he’s doing and making sure he’s pitching. As far as a date of calling him up, we have not come to a conclusion on that.”
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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