Velasquez struggles out of the bullpen; Phillies fall to Mets

Velasquez falters for Phillies
The storybook start to the Phillies bullpen came to an end on Tuesday night as Vince Velasquez stumbled, allowing four runs in less than two innings in an 8-4 defeat to the Mets. 

Velasquez looked spectacular in his first inning of work, sitting down Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, and Dominic Smith, all on strikes in just 14 pitches to preserve a one-run deficit. Things turned disastrous though in the seventh when he walked four batters that all eventually came in to score. 

Velasquez is supposed to be the multiple-inning guy in this new-look bullpen. He has electric stuff but has far too often has been inconsistent. With multiple relievers unavailable because they pitched the night before, the responsibility to keep the Phillies close to the Mets fell to Velasquez. 

He failed to get the job done. 

“I totally lost it,” Velasquez said regarding his leadoff walk to Luis Guillorme in the seventh. “It’s just something that ... I need to get off the mound and regroup. Right out of the chute, I pretty much was in that wind-up phase and I felt like I was in total control and once I went into the stretch [in the seventh] … I started aiming and I got behind in the count. I take full blame of the whole situation. This game could have been closer, and I take full responsibility for that. Three, four straight walks are not acceptable at all.” 

Velasquez has shown over his five-plus seasons in Philadelphia that he can be dominant, but he too often erases the solid outings with performances like Tuesday's. 

The crowd of 10,752 eagerly voiced their displeasure as Velasquez walked off the field. 

“In this town, in Philadelphia, they want competitors,” Velasquez said. “I’m one of those guys that can compete, but [the walks are] totally unnecessary. “Joe likes to talk about trust. In any situation, I want to be one of those guys that can establish that trust. But when you’re not put into games it’s very hard to kind of be sharp. Again, this is the first game. … I feel like I’m one of those guys. I could be in that situation. I would like to be in that situation. I’ve told you guys from the get-go, no matter what role it’s going to be, I want to be that guy just to compete and win for you guys. Today was a good first inning, but it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. I should have come in and closed that second inning and at least given our team a better chance to win.” 

Chase Anderson tossed five innings and allowed just two runs, both coming on a home run by Dominic Smith with no outs in the fourth. As the No. 5 starter for the Phillies, he performed as expected. 

The loss knocked the Phillies to 4-1 on the season, meaning the 1915 Phillies remain the most recent club in franchise history to open the season with five straight wins. 

The series closes Wednesday afternoon as Aaron Nola makes his second start of the season. He will face Mets lefty David Peterson.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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