Edinson Volquez gives up seven runs, points finger at Reds’ offense

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Edinson Volquez was knocked around by the Indians yesterday, allowing seven runs while failing to make it out the third inning as his ERA rose to 6.35.

He’s struggled all season with 38 walks and nine homers allowed in 51 innings, but what made yesterday’s ugly outing different than his previous ugly outings is that afterward Volquez took the opportunity to criticize the Reds’ lineup. Seriously.

When speaking to reporters following the game, Volquez said:

I think everybody has to step up and start getting some runs. The last five games, we’ve scored how many runs? Thirteen in five games? It’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.

Thanks largely to Volquez the Reds allowed 12 runs yesterday and the lineup did well enough scoring four times, which makes it an awfully strange moment to talk about how “everybody has to step up and start getting some runs.”

Last season the Reds led the NL in runs and this season they rank second. The big change has been the pitching staff going from seventh to 14th in ERA and Volquez has led the way with his ERA rising from 4.31 to 6.35. So yes, maybe the Reds’ offense hasn’t been particularly productive for the past week, but Cincinnati has still scored the second-most runs in the league this season and Volquez has still been one of the worst performers on one of the league’s worst pitching staffs.

And just so no one thinks Volquez’s quote was taken out of context, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com notes that the above statement came in response to a question about his lack of command yesterday. Clearly the guy just had something to get off his chest. Shame it doesn’t make any sense.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.