Bullpen woes continue as Phillies drop to five below .500

Phillies lose again to Braves
It can't continue like this, right? The Phillies bullpen, again, coughed up a lead on Saturday night in a 6-5 loss to the Braves at Truist Park in Atlanta. The Phils have now lost five straight and find themselves drowning in the NL East.

“We’ve just got to get better,” Bryce Harper said. “We’ve just got to absolutely just be better. It’s plain and simple.

“We have minimal games to play this year. We have to be able to get out there and play our game and we have to win. I mean, we have to go on a streak and win nine out of 10. It needs to happen. It’s tough. It’s very tough in baseball to do that. But to get where we need to be, it needs to happen.”

Harper put the Phillies on the board in the opening frame with a two-run bomb. Zack Wheeler tossed seven solid innings, surrendering two runs on five hits. He collected eight strikeouts. Unfortunately, Hector Neris and newly acquired Brandon Workman faltered in the final two frames, combining to allow four runs on six hits.

“We spent a lot of time in the matchups, is what we do,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I've told Hector and Workman that they're interchangeable, right? Depending on matchups, that's who we'll go to at that time in the eighth or the ninth. And it didn't work.”

Harper hit a sac-fly in the ninth to even the contest at 5-5, but Workman loaded the bags in the bottom of the frame before surrendering an Adam Duvall base-hit to center allowing the Braves to secure the walk-off win.

The Phillies are now five games below .500 and on the outside looking in regarding a postseason berth.

“There are some teams that are not playing very well right now,” Harper said. “If we do go .500 and we get in and we have the three horses that we have at the top and the guys in our bullpen, and I think we’re going to even go out and get more guys and get better. You’re going to have to do it. If we’re going to go for it and get it done, then I believe that’s what’s going to happen.”
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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