D-backs drop 3rd straight to Phillies, Ryne Nelson searches for consistent results

Jun 15, 2023, 5:59 PM

Ryne Nelson #19 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the Philadelphia ...

Ryne Nelson #19 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase Field on June 15, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Diamondbacks starter Ryne Nelson produced another mixed bag of results Thursday in a 5-4 defeat to the Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona’s third straight loss at Chase Field.

Nelson caused 14 swings and misses and finished five strikeouts with three different pitches. But a vaunted Phillies lineup jumped on him in the second and fourth innings to end his start early.

The rookie faced 24 hitters and allowed 10 hits and two walks in four innings.

“All my stuff felt good, just found too many barrels, gave it too many hits,” Nelson said after he allowed five runs. “Pretty frustrated and just got to be better.”

Nelson continues to search for consistent results. He boasted a 3.04 ERA over his last five starts entering Thursday, but now he’s allowed 13 earned runs in his last 19.1 innings.

He threw a scoreless first against the Phillies, but second baseman Bryson Stott smacked the first pitch of the second inning, a high fastball, over the fence. The next pitch was shot to center for a hit by third baseman Alec Bohm.

Philadelphia had four hits and a walk in the second, capped by an RBI infield single from Trea Turner, who beat Nelson to the bag on a potential 3-1 putout. Nelson said he was a hair late to break, and Turner beat the toss with a preposterous sprint speed of 32.1 ft/sec.

“It’s just the late breaking over there, and we practice it all the time,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “We practiced it yesterday. … It’s more a mental mistake. That’s really what it comes down to. And those are the things that really eat at me.”

The D-backs trailed 3-0 when they put their comeback together in the third.

Catcher Gabriel Moreno, back in the lineup after three games, singled in a run off Aaron Nola. Ketel Marte belted a three-run homer with two outs to regain the lead, 4-3.

Nelson came out for the fourth and immediately walked No. 9 hitter and backup catcher Garrett Stubbs to set up the top of the order.

Three of the next four batters produced hits, and Philadelphia took the lead right back, 5-4.

“He’s a young pitcher and he’s developing and continuing to get better, so it’s all going to come together at some point,” Lovullo said. The swing and misses are showing up again. But I just think there’s some middle-middle mistakes, and he got ambushed a few times with some fastballs that were mislocated.”

Nelson leaned heavily on the heater Thursday at 63%. It had life with nine whiffs and an average of 95.1 mph, but too many Phillies hitters sat fastball and sent them back hard.

Lovullo was asked whether he was comfortable saying with certainty Nelson would make his next start and did not fully commit.

“We’re going to talk about it like we talk about it every time, just kind of go over it and make sure that we’re ready to win a baseball game tomorrow, two days, three days, four days and five days from now,” Lovullo said. “So we’ll have those discussions next couple of days.”

Nelson has been the one young pitcher in the rotation who has not spent any time in Triple-A Reno this year despite growing pains. He is 17 starts into his MLB career.

The bullpen behind Nelson did its job to keep the D-backs one hit away all game. Drey Jameson tossed 2.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Kyle Nelson, Miguel Castro and Andrew Chafin bridged the gap.

Jameson has three starts in the bigs this season, but Lovullo said he will not be reinserted into the rotation.

The D-backs were held scoreless after the third inning with only three hits. The Nos. 3-6 hitters in the order (Corbin Carroll, Christian Walker, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Josh Rojas) went 0-for-16 with nine strikeouts, an uncharacteristic black hole in the middle of the order.

“Nola did a good job, he executed, he didn’t really leave much over the plate … at least to me there really wasn’t many mistakes,” Walker said.

Nola lasted 6.2 innings and 105 pitches.

The D-backs had chances late, most notably in the seventh. Jake McCarthy bunted his way aboard, diving into first around a potential tag. He stole second and took third on an errant throw.

Geraldo Perdomo, batting ninth after hitting leading off Wednesday, walked to set up Pavin Smith with runners on the corners.

The Phillies turned to left Gregory Soto, and the D-backs matched by pinch hitting Emmanuel Rivera.

Soto won the duel with a swinging strikeout on a 99 mph heater just off the outside corner.

Marte led off the eighth with a single, and Carroll attempted to bunt his way on. The bunt popped up slightly, preventing Marte from getting a good jump, and Stubbs threw out the lead runner at second. Arizona went 0-for-5 with three punch outs to end the game.

Gurriel struck out four times and Rojas three.

Marte, McCarthy and Moreno picked up six of the team’s seven hits.

Arizona is now 7-3 in its last 10 series, but Lovullo said the team was frustrated after losing a pair of winnable games to drop the set against Philadelphia. The Phillies won Wednesday night 4-3 in 10 innings after a defensive blunder cost the Diamondbacks a run in extras.

“I think there’s a difference between what we expect out of ourselves and a realistic expectation for the season and how hard it is,” Walker said. “The Phillies are playing well right now, they’re swinging it well, we had some chances and stayed in a couple of those games but didn’t go our way.”

The D-backs have not lost more than three games in a row all year, and that feat will be tested Friday against the Cleveland Guardians.

Up next

Zac Gallen will take the mound Friday with a 0.96 ERA in seven home starts this year. He will face a Guardians lineup that ranked No. 29 in runs entering Thursday.

The D-backs will see RHP Triston McKenzie in his third start of the year.

First pitch from Chase Field is at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7, and the Arizona Sports app. 

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