Realmuto Visibly Aggravated in Mets Rout of Phillies Bullpen
Usually the Phillies and Phillies fans feel good when Aaron Nola is on the mound. Nola gave the Phillies 6 2/3 innings. Jose Alvarez kept the Mets from doing further damage when Nola got into a little bit of trouble. Then the Phillies bullpen simply lost it, but not before Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto seemed to lose his patience.
Reliever Mike Morin entered the game in the eighth inning. Morin, one of the more reliable relievers for the Phillies, had a tough night. Morin got just one out, allowing three hits and four runs. When Morin departed he had allowed two runs and had two runners on base before the Phillies went back to the bullpen. They summoned Jared Hughes.
That might be for good reason; Hughes has given the Phillies little to nothing since he joined the team on a waiver claim.
Hughes has appeared in eight games as a Phillie. In those eight games and six innings pitched, Hughes has an earned run average of 9.00. Those numbers are similar to those that Hughes put together in the month leading up to being placed on waivers.
Hughes has allowed four home runs, including one last night that seemed to validate Realmuto's concern. The home run off the bat of Todd Frazier knocked in the two Morin left on base. Suddenly, the Phillies were down 6-1 and the game seemed out of reach.
Reliever Edgar Garcia, who was rushed to the major leagues and probably does not belong there, allowed five more runs to make it 11-1. The Phillies would get four runs in the bottom of the ninth. Of course, those runs came off of essentially the Mets mop-up reliever.
A lot of frustration has been levied against Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. However, he has not been given adequate tools to work with while Realmuto and Phillies fans might have winced at the sight of Hughes entering the game. With Morin, his most-reliable right-handed bullpen arm not named Hector Neris struggling, who is left?
No, using Neris might not have worked, because the Phillies offense showed no signs of coming together.
But fans seem to expect that Kapler would be able to pull Mariano Rivera out of his bullpen. The options were Hughes, Garcia earlier, lefty Ranger Suarez, lefty Austin Davis, who has not been good in the major leagues, and Blake Parker. One could make the argument that Parker should have been the arm.
But the Phillies front office acquired Hughes to be their ground ball pitcher. With two runners on base, this was the type of spot that Kapler was given Hughes for. Hughes failed in that role.
I would imagine that Kapler would not make the same decision again, even though the front office gave him Hughes to enter a situation like that. With rosters expanding Sunday they will likely have other options in the bullpen and perhaps be more likely to pull a reliever sooner.
But the Phillies are now 3.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card. They were just a game behind as of Tuesday. While this is one loss that looms large, that Miami Marlins series last weekend in which the Phillies could have picked up ground may have been what did them in.