Billy Walter said after his start a week ago in Chicago that he feels like his outings always come down to one or two pitches.
Many starts do this, and mistakes tend to be remembered most when you hit a long run. That was the case again for Walter on Tuesday night in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Seattle Mariners.
“The same thing I’ve been telling you guys all season,” he said at the club afterwards.
Walter allowed only one run through four innings, working efficiently and holding the Mariners’ right-handed bats hitless in 13 ABs. The baserunner was Jared Kilinick, who doubled, then hit a 424-footer to start the scoring in the fifth. The former Mets prospect who was traded for Edwin Diaz to start 2023 has closed out, and he has finally lived up to the hype.
The Mariners started to solve Falter in that fifth inning, scoring a second run and forcing him to throw 33 pitches. Coach Rob Thompson left him in the sixth and Walther hit T France, then gave up a double to Eugenio Suarez and threw a self-described “cement mixer” to Teoscar Hernandez for a game-changing run. Hernandez has been leading the majors in slugging percentage against lefties since the start of 2021, but a lot of players would have hit this 76-mph hanging ball hard.
“He threw a lot of pitches (in the fifth inning) but he was still throwing well,” said Thompson. He hit first man in the sixth, then Suarez doubled and let a ball out of the plate for a home run. But overall, Bailey threw the ball very well. He threw batters, all his pitches worked, and he leaned on his broken ball, mixed in some good changeups.
“I thought he was still throwing the ball really well.”
Walther was charged for four runs (three earned) in six innings pitched and fell to 0-4 with a 4.50 ERA. Last Tuesday against the White Sox, Jake Burger hit a three-run homer to leave the field against him in the first inning, then settled left. From the second inning in Chicago through the fifth on Tuesday night, Walther had gone 10 scoreless innings on two strikeouts.
“If you watch most matches, players make one or two mistakes or more, but lately it’s been costing him because he’s done so much better than his record,” said Thompson.
Edmundo Sosa hit a solo home run to left in the fifth for the Phillies. The Phils have hit eight homers in their last three games after managing just 19 in their first 21 games.
They had another big chance in the sixth, down three runs with the bases loaded and one out. Alec Baum hit the ball hard between first and second bases but France was well positioned and left his feet to play it on a jump, and he got to power in at second base. Comment with ’em. Foot to the right and it might be a single. Sosa hit to end the inning with two on board.
Jake Cave hit a two-run home run in the ninth to give Bryson Stott a chance at tying the game but Stott successfully finished the game against Mariners closer Paul Seewald.
Christian Bach started in left field and got two more hits. He’s an 8 vs. 17 with my husband and I since his difficult first week as my sponsor. He wasn’t a starter in the Phillies’ lineup on Tuesday, but the Mariners did start at soft-flip veteran Marco Gonzalez in place of young right-hander Logan Gilbert, who was moved to Wednesday due to muscle spasms in his shoulder/back.
Gonzalez had several Phillies lead hitters, including Trea Turner, who was up 2-0 in the count with two men on board in the third inning before Gonzalez put it away with two changeups at 79 mph and an 89 mph fastball. the hour. Turner went 0-for-4 with three hits. He’s 6-for-35 (. 171) with 15 strikeouts in his last eight games with the most damage in a single game against the White Sox. He’s also an upset 6-for-30 (.200) this season against lefties.
“It definitely tests your patience,” Nick Castellanos said of Gonzalez’s finesse-based approach. “This is his profession and he is good at his craft.”
Castellanos had two more catches and hit .315/.382/.489 during the month of April. Visits were not a problem for the Phillies. They entered the night second in the majors in extra base hits, third in batting average and third in OPS. The two teams that came before it, the Rays and Cubs, did a much better job of turning all those hits into runs.
It’s been an inconsistent month offensively and it’s times like these that the Phillies built on their experience in 2022, when they were inconsistent for five months and an afterthought until they fell behind and stormed into the World Series.
They would soon have running back Bryce Harper, further stretching a lineup that looked deep, though not able to appear frequently enough with runners in the scoring position.
“It’s a marathon, it’s 162 games,” Castellanos said after the Phils fell 11-13. “The postseason wasn’t made in April and May either.”
Taijuan Walker got the ball in the middle inning on Wednesday after it got off to a good streak.
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