Home Sports Phillies play worst defensive game of season, Walker struggles in loss to Giants

Phillies play worst defensive game of season, Walker struggles in loss to Giants

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Phillies play worst defensive game of season, Walker struggles in loss to Giants originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

SAN FRANCISCO – Six starts, Taijuan Walker is still searching.

Looking for consistency, looking for confidence, looking for his best pitch.

Walker took the loss for the Phillies on Memorial Day, allowing six runs in six innings. The Phillies dug an early three-run hole, then stormed back to take a four-run lead from Blake Snell before Walker took the lead again in the fifth.

The Phillies lost 8-4. They have lost consecutive games for the first time since April 23-24 in Cincinnati and are 1-3 on their trip to Colorado and San Francisco.

Walker hasn’t had the feel or command of his splitter all year, dating back to his abbreviated spring training. It’s his best pitch and he held opponents to a .210 batting average in 2023. This season? Walker’s opponents are 19-for-37 against the splitter, hitting .514.

It might not be a big deal if Walker had mid-to-high 90s velocity with his sinker or four-seam fastball, but his velocity is also down about 2 mph. He currently does not have a reserve pitch.

For what it’s worth, both Walker and manager Rob Thomson thought the right-hander had his best game of the season on Monday. Both were happy with their depth.

Walker, who has a 5.51 ERA, wasn’t the only reason the Phillies lost. They made three errors and all three resulted in runs. Alec Bohm committed two at third base and has four errors in the last six days. He is depressed in the field.

Second baseman Whit Merrifield dropped a fly ball into shallow right field in the seventh inning, two batters after Bohm’s second error. The shaky defense allowed the Giants to double their lead.

With men on first and second early in the game, Johan Rojas caught a ball deep in center and threw to third base, where he had no chance to catch the runner. This allowed the trailing runner to advance to second position and they both scored about 30 seconds later.

As beautiful as Northern California was, it was not a pleasant day for the Phillies.

They scored all of their runs in the top of the third and fourth. Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run homer, his first in exactly three weeks. In the fourth, Edmundo Sosa tripled and scored on a wild pitch and Rojas singled in Merrifield. The Phillies stole four bases in that inning alone. They forced Snell to throw 64 pitches in his final two innings, chasing him after four.

But they couldn’t hold on and are 38-17 with ace Zack Wheeler on the mound Tuesday at 9:45 pm ET. The Giants have not yet named a starter.

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