Entering today’s contest with the Blue Jays, the Phillies were 9-3 when they scored exactly six runs in a game this season. They were also 58-7 when taking a lead into the eighth inning. Neither of those trends mattered after yet another miserable loss in which the Blue Jays methodically erased a 5-0 deficit to deliver yet another gut punch to the Phillies’ quickly fading playoff hopes:

The 8-6 loss was the third game since Tuesday night in which the Phillies blew a lead of three runs or more. Victor Arano blew it on Tuesday night, Seranthony Dominguez blew it on Wednesday night, and the two suddenly struggling relievers collaborated on a disastrous eighth inning this afternoon. Not a great week for those two. In fact, it’s been a pretty tough 10 weeks for Dominguez. After an outrageous start to his career in which he didn’t surrender a single earned run over his first 13 appearances, he has a 4.80 ERA and five losses over his last 28 appearances. Check out these numbers:

Dominguez’s first 12 appearances: 14.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 0.00 ERA, 0.14 WHIP

Dominguez’s last 29 appearances: 30 IP, 16 ER, 25 H, 14 BB, 3 HBP, 4.80 ERA, 1.30 WHIP

Look, it would be crazy to think that Dominguez would sustain his early level of production, but it is fair to point out that he hasn’t been particularly good for an extended stretch now. He’s still a tremendous young talent with big upside, but…hot take time: The Phillies should no longer treat him as the go-to guy in high leverage situations. Think I’m just overreacting because Dominguez didn’t get the job done today? Well, let us take a look at a much maligned member of the Phillies bullpen to illustrate Dominguez’s recent mediocrity:

Tommy Hunter’s last 29 appearances: 30.1 IP, 12 ER, 30 H, 6 BB, 3 HBP, 3.56 ERA, 1.19 WHIP

For more than two months, Hunter has been better than Dominguez at keeping runners off the bases and preventing runs.

Won’t lie, that’s not a sentence I thought I would write this season.

Of course, perhaps the eighth inning wouldn’t have sunk the Phillies had Gabe Kapler went to Luis Avilán to face Billy McKinney in the seventh inning with a runner on second base and two outs. Instead, Kapler stuck with starter Nick Pivetta. That didn’t go well:

Is the Phillies’ recent slide all Kapler’s fault? Of course not. After today’s loss, the Phillies now have a -1 run differential. They are an average team that is regressing to the mean. I wrote this the other day, and I took a lot of shit for being too negative in the comments section from a few people that don’t understand how baseball works, but it seems even more appropriate now:

For more than four months the Phillies were able to overcome an inconsistent offense, a league-worst defense, and an often erratic bullpen performance, but it appears whatever force that was fueling this team now ceases to exist. Instead, they now have the look of a team that knows it’s cooked.

Want a silver lining? The Nationals lost yet again. Meanwhile, the Braves are losing 3-1 in the ninth inning to the Marlins as I finish this story, so the Phillies will likely remain only three games out in a division that no team wants to win. So there’s that.