Phillies not discouraged by Opening Series

Phillies not discouraged by Opening Series

CINCINNATI -- The Phillies expected their share of struggles this season, but they never expected to start the season like this.

They lost, 10-6, Thursday afternoon to the Reds at Great American Ball Park to fall to 0-3. It is the first time the Phillies have been swept to begin a season since 2007, when they opened 0-3 at home against the Braves. It also is the first time they have been swept to open a season on the road since 2000, when they went 0-3 against the D-backs.

"You play a few games and you just try not to let the results affect you either way," right-hander Charlie Morton said. "Obviously, you try to take the positives and move forward. But try not to let the momentum of negative things happen. Try not to carry those things with you. It was nice to play well in spring, but we've got to come in and win ballgames, and I didn't do my part."

Morton allowed six runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. He pitched well through three frames before things fell apart in the fourth. Rookie left-hander Daniel Stumpf replaced Morton with runners on second and third and two outs. Stumpf, who made his Major League debut, had Scott Schebler at 0-2, but he walked him to load the bases.

Stumpf got ahead of Eugenio Suarez before surrendering a grand slam.

"I got my feet wet," Stumpf said. "You can't go any lower than what I did today. There's only room for improvement at this point."

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The Reds swept the Phillies for a few reasons. First and foremost, the Phillies' bullpen lost a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning Monday and a 2-1 lead in the ninth Wednesday. The Phillies' bullpen has a 12.91 ERA (11 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings) through three games. 

Secondly, the offense has struggled.

The Phillies had scored just four runs and just twice in 18 innings entering Thursday. They were one of two teams without a hit with runners in scoring position entering the series finale before Ryan Howard ended that with an RBI single in the third. Phillies outfielders had tallied one combined hit.

"Well, I'm not discouraged by it," manager Pete Mackanin said. "I'm not happy with it. We're not swinging the bats like we did in the spring. I don't want to take anything away from their pitchers, but we're not facing [Zack] Greinke and [Clayton] Kershaw. I would like to have seen a little bit more offense. We got some late today, which was good to see some of the guys getting some hits, but we need to do a better job of hitting the ball."

It does not get any easier for the Phillies. They open a three-game series Friday afternoon against the Mets at Citi Field. They are scheduled to face Jacob deGrom on Friday and Matt Harvey on Sunday.

"We know what we're up against," Mackanin said. "I'm hoping we got this out of the way. There's no excuses. We're not going to be the best hitting team in the league, but I don't think we're the worst hitting team in the league. I think we're going to show better than we did. We've hit good pitchers before. It's not like I'm going in there thinking we're in trouble."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.