The Phillies sit at 2-4 after splitting Wednesday’s double header with the Yankees at Citizens Bank Park. The games included great starting pitching from the Phillies top two starters, Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Questionable moves by new skipper Joe Girardi might have cost the Phillies the win in game two as the bullpen once again blew up the game.
Over the first six games I have noticed some tendencies from Joe Girardi that I am not a fan of. Heres a few:
1. Pulling Starters Too Early
The bullpen should not have been used in either game Wednesday night. Zack Wheeler in game one was setting the Yankees down easily after a rough start. I understood why Girardi took Wheeler out as he was in the mid 80s in pitch count and the Phillies held an eight-run lead, but Wheeler could have easily finished the game and apparently wanted to stay in and finish his game.
Austin Davis came into the game and threw live batting practice capped off by a three-run homerun by Aaron Judge. Trevor Kelley then entered the game and turned it into a save situation, and in a remarkable turn of events Hector Neris had to come into the game to record the final out. A nightmare situation that could have been avoided by letting Wheeler finish the game.
In game two, Aaron Nola was masterful. His only mistake being an 0-0 hanging curveball to Luke Voit that Voit sent into orbit. It was vintage Nola last night, his fastball command/movement was in 2018 form and his curveball had a star filled Yankees lineup clueless. At 88 pitches in a tied game, Girardi gave the ball to Tommy Hunter in the 7th and he failed to record an out as he took the loss.
I understand players’ health is first priority and it’s early in the season, but these games are all must wins. When you have Aaron Nola pitching that good you leave him in, let him start the inning and pull him if he allows a base runner.
2. Not Batting the Hot Hands
Joe Girardi has been playing matchups with Gosselin, Bruce, Walker, Haseley and Quinn. Out of that group, Gosselin, Bruce and Haseley have been some of the Phillies best bats through the first six games, but yet they are not mainstays in the lineup even when they start.
In game one Wednesday, Phil Gosselin, facing a left hander, ripped a double down the line in his first at bat and had an RBI walk in his second plate appearance. The second the Yankees put a right hander in, Gosselin was pinch hit for. I understand playing matchups but when you got a guy as hot as Phil Gosselin, you give him a game’s worth of at-bats regardless of the pitcher on the hill.
Adam Haseley has been a hitting machine so far and has really approved on his approach as I think he has the tools to be a leadoff hitter for the Phillies long-term. With as well as Haseley has played, Roman Quinn seems to be getting the bulk of the playing time. I expect this to change because Haseley looks worlds better than Quinn so far this season.
3. Lineup Doesn’t Make Sense
The Phillies have been struggling with runners in scoring position and a main reason why is Jean Segura batting 5th. Jean Segura rolls over and pops up constantly, yet, we have him batting in one of the biggest RBI spots in the lineup. Jean is not built to drive in runs. He should be in the top three of the lineup as an on base threat or the bottom three where he truly belongs.
I think Jean Segura’s best days are behind him and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Phillies try and move him for some bullpen help, with Alec Bohm looming in the minors.
Also, having Rhys Hoskins in the 2-hole makes no sense. If Joe Girardi wants to get him going I think flipping him and Segura would benefit both of them. Rhys has struggled badly so far, but he is definitely a better run producer than Segura.
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