While Rhys Hoskins was setting a home run record, the Chicago Cubs were going deep in bulk against Ben Lively and the Phillies on Saturday night.
After Hoskins’ record-setting 10th home run in his 57th at-bat put the Phillies ahead 2-0 in the first inning, the Phils' beleaguered pitching staff proceeded to give up 17 unanswered runs and six homers in a 17-2 loss. It marked the most runs allowed by the Phils this season.
“Pitching let us down today,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “That’s pretty much it.”
And frustration is starting to mount. Lively struck out a career-high eight over five innings in his second start since being recalled, but the Cubs made him pay for his lack of command.
Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer in the third and added a solo shot in the fifth a batter after Kris Bryant went deep. Tommy La Stella hit one of his two homers off Lively.
“One of the things he did was, he missed location,” Mackanin said. “He missed location 29 times on his fastball, which is not good.”
But Lively (1-5) claimed the biggest issue wasn’t his fastball, but communication with catcher Jorge Alfaro.
“My fastball was fine. It just tough getting on the same plane as Jorge,” Lively said. “I wanted to throw more in and we just weren’t on the same page. My curveball was crap early and I tried to fix it early, but it was too late.”
The bullpen didn’t fare any better. Rizzo drove in his fifth run with a bases-loaded infield single and Alex Avila added a two-run double before Drew Anderson was lifted. Anderson was charged with five runs.
The Cubs sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven times in the seventh. The biggest indignity was starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks. He led off the seventh with a single and scored, then added a two-run double off Jesen Therrien later in the inning.
Yacksel Rios surrendered two-run homers to La Stella and Ben Zobrist in the eighth.
“It’s not fun,” Mackanin said. “You bring in young pitchers and they aren’t quite ready and they’re learning as they go. They need to at least try to keep you in the game. Sometimes it doesn’t happen."
But there are few options. Anderson was optioned to Triple A after the game to make room for Nick Pivetta, who will start Sunday’s series finale.
Pivetta allowed six runs and got just four outs Tuesday against Miami.
“We have a lot of young guys taking the mound for us. There’s nothing else I can say," Mackanin said. "I don’t want to use the entire bullpen, so you’ve got to leave guys in for a while, otherwise you disrupt your whole bullpen for the next two or three days.”