Stumbling Phillies bid to regain footing vs. Diamondbacks

National Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies will attempt to break out of their sudden slump when they face the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night in Phoenix.

The Phillies fell for the fifth time in seven games on Tuesday after dropping a 3-2 decision to the woeful Diamondbacks in the opener of the three-game series.

The downturn follows a stretch in which Philadelphia won a season-best eight consecutive games. It also has seen the Phillies go from being in first place in the National League East to trailing the Atlanta Braves by 2 1/2 games.

Bryce Harper belted his 22nd homer of the season among the three hits for the Phillies on Tuesday.

Philadelphia attempted to rally in the ninth and moved within one run when Diamondbacks reliever Tyler Clippard threw a wild pitch. But pinch-hitter Alec Bohm flew out to left field to leave the Phillies with another disappointing setback.

“We just couldn’t get anything going, couldn’t break through,” said infielder Brad Miller, who doubled in the ninth and later scored on the wild pitch. “Did some good things but couldn’t break through.”

The Phillies are clearly missing the bat of first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who remains on the injured list due to a groin injury.

Hoskins leads the Phillies with 24 homers, 29 doubles and 68 RBIs. He is batting .244 in 104 games.

But manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want his club’s offensive struggles tied to the absence of Hoskins, who has 115 homers in four-plus seasons with the team. He sees a team that should be more productive no matter who is in the lineup.

“I think we’re getting in some decent counts and getting some decent swings,” Girardi said. “It’s frustrating for guys. We’ve got to find a way to string hits together. We have to be able to score more than one or two runs a night.”

Arizona found some offense in the opener as Josh VanMeter hit the decisive two-run homer and Josh Rojas continued his torrid stretch at the plate.

Rojas went 3-for-4 with an RBI double on Tuesday and is batting .510 (25-for-49) over the past 14 games. He has eight multi-hit outings during the stretch.

VanMeter was 2-for-3 and had a double to go along with the line-drive homer that barely cleared the right-field wall. The blast off Philadelphia right-hander Kyle Gibson was VanMeter’s fourth of the season.

“He left a slider over the middle of the plate and I was able to get the barrel on it,” VanMeter said afterward. “Thankfully it went over the fence.”

The Diamondbacks (39-81) also no longer have the worst record in the majors after Tuesday’s win. The Baltimore Orioles (38-80) now hold that distinction.

Phillies left-hander Ranger Suarez (5-3, 1.07 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season on Wednesday.

Suarez has allowed just 24 hits in 50 1/3 innings over 30 appearances. He has struck out 51 and walked 20.

Suarez, who turns 26 next week, started against the Los Angeles Dodgers last Thursday and gave up one run and three hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked two.

Suarez is 0-1 with an 11.81 ERA in three career relief appearances versus Arizona. Ketel Marte is 3-for-3 against Suarez.

The Diamondbacks are countering with 23-year-old Humberto Castellanos (0-1, 2.30), who is making his first appearance for Arizona since July 7.

Castellanos started against the Colorado Rockies that day and gave up four hits over four scoreless innings. That was his lone start in eight appearances this season.

Castellanos, a right-hander, has yet to face the Phillies in his career.

–Field Level Media

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