Phillies Game Story

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

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SAN FRANCISCO — Six starts in, Taijuan Walker is still searching.

Searching for consistency, searching for confidence, searching for his best pitch.

Walker took the loss for the Phillies on Memorial Day, allowing six runs over six innings. The Phils dug an early three-run hole, then came back to take a lead with four runs off of Blake Snell before Walker gave the lead back in the fifth.

The Phillies lost, 8-4. They've dropped back-to-back games for the first time since April 23-24 in Cincinnati and are 1-3 on their road trip to Colorado and San Francisco.

Walker has not had the feel or command of his splitter all year, dating back to his abbreviated spring training. It's his best pitch and it 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 as much of an issue if Walker had mid-to-high 90s velocity with his sinker or four-seam fastball, but his velocity has been down about 2 mph as well. He's currently without a putaway pitch.

For what it's worth, both Walker and manager Rob Thomson thought the right-hander had his best splitter of the season Monday. They were both happy with its depth.

Walker, who has a 5.51 ERA, was not the only reason why the Phillies lost. They committed three errors and all three resulted in runs. Alec Bohm made two at third base and has four errors over the last six days. He's in a funk in the field.

Second baseman Whit Merrifield dropped a pop-up in shallow right field in the seventh inning, two batters after Bohm's second error. The shaky defense enabled the Giants to double their lead.

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

As beautiful as it was in Northern California, it was not a pretty 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 hang on and are 38-17 with ace Zack Wheeler on the mound Tuesday at 9:45 p.m. ET. The Giants haven't yet named a starter.

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