Not even two weeks ago the Philadelphia Phillies swept the rival New York Mets to move into first place in the NL East. It was arguably the team's biggest series win since they last made the postseason in 2011, and a potential springboard for the rest of the season. Instead, it has been all downhill since.
Thursday afternoon the Phillies were shut down by Madison Bumgarner and the last place Diamondbacks (ARI 6, PHI 2) to complete the three-game sweep at Chase Field. Philadelphia scored four runs in three games against the worst pitching team in the National League. They are 2-7 since sweeping the Mets and are four games behind the Braves in the NL East.
Because losing Thursday's game isn't bad enough, ace righty Zack Wheeler's took a big hit. Wheeler was charged with six runs in 6 2/3 innings, upping his ERA from 2.56 to 2.77 in a single afternoon. The game unraveled in the five-run seventh inning, when Nick Ahmed and Josh VanMeter each had a two-run double. Bumgarner drove in a run as well.
Frustration is clearing beginning to boil over to the Phillies. Wheeler barked at home plate umpire Tom Hallion as he left the mound in the seventh, presumably over a missed call earlier in the inning. An 0-2 pitch to Christian Walker was called a ball even though it appeared to be a strike. The at-bat continued and Walker ripped a leadoff double, and things snowballed from there.
Following the Mets series,. Any team can beat any other team on any given day in this league though, sometimes even on three straight days, like the D-Backs just swept the Phillies. Thursday was essentially a must win with Wheeler on the mound. Instead, it was an embarrassing loss.
Thursday's loss dropped the Phillies to 61-60 on the season. They begin a three-game series with the Padres in San Diego on Friday.