Vince Velasquez needed 74 pitches to record just seven outs in the Phillies’ 11-5 loss to the Red Sox last night.
Lacking command, he issued four walks and was battered when in the strike zone by a deep Red Sox lineup. He twice failed to deliver shutdown innings after his teammates handed him a pair of leads before failing to keep things reasonable in the third.
Not to pile on after an obviously poor performance, but Velasquez’s latest start was one of the worst I’ve seen by a pitcher this season. It was non-competitive from the jump.
Extending his 26-game on base streak in style. pic.twitter.com/wKMa8tLYjU
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 10, 2021
After delivering seven shutout innings against the Marlins on June 29, Velasquez has since allowed 15 hits, 13 earned runs, five homers, and seven walks across 8 1/3 innings pitched this month. Those numbers translate to a 14.04 ERA and 2.64 WHIP, while opponents are hitting .404 against him in two July starts.
Should he make another start? That’s debatable.
Either way, Phillies manager Joe Girardi told reporters after the game that Velasquez will remain in the rotation. That may not be what fans want to read this morning, but the Phillies aren’t exactly stocked with intriguing alternatives.
Bailey Falter could grab a look. Maybe Chase Anderson?
Making his third rehab start last night, Anderson allowed five hits and four runs to the first seven Worcester Red Sox that stepped into the box at Coca-Cola Park. Anderson lasted only three innings, and he wasn’t exactly sharp in 11 games with the Phillies earlier this season.
If the Phillies are in fact using the next 20 days to gauge their course of action at the July 30 deadline and decide to become buyers, they may need to add another item to a currently two-word shopping list that reads “bullpen help.”
For this team, for right now, Velasquez probably remains Girardi’s best option. After all, he did at least carry a functional 4.22 ERA through 12 starts into this month. In this case, I would imagine the fatigue and frustration felt by fans is ignited by his larger sample of 113 starts with the Phillies since 2016 more than it is by his 14 starts this season.
That’s about all I’ve got for you after this series-opening clunker, but here’s how Velasquez responded when asked how he feels heading into the All-Star break. I assume fans will find his answer supremely annoying, though I personally appreciate a verbose response.
Speaking of recovery, I’ve been very injury prone. I’ve also encountered a couple flexor problems. Biceps tendonitis around this time has always been an issue, but I’ve really stood on top of that. I really commend my trainers and the work that I’ve kind of put in and out. I just think that there’s more areas that I need to cover a little bit more. So, mechanically, I think eliminating the walks a little bit, utilizing two-seam fastball command, I think this is definitely going to be a big reset button for myself. I’m definitely taking a lot of positives in the first half that I’ve pretty much gathered myself. There’s been a lot of signs of improvements, but then also a lot of letdowns, but again, in this game, the fact that I started off from a relieving role standpoint and then end up going into the rotation, I had to change that up a little bit. Again, I’m not making an excuse, but the fact that the work ethic I put in and out from Day 1 from spring training, having the intention of coming into spring training trying to earn my spot back, I’m really taking a lot of positives out of it. I think this will be a big reset button, like you said, like I said, and I’m definitely going to enjoy the couple days off. But, if they need another reliever to win the series, I have no problem going out there and getting another bullpen session in, if it comes to that situation. But again, I would love to bounce back and maybe go out there and throw another inning or so, but if not, I’m definitely taking a lot of goods [sic] out of it and moving forward.