CLEVELAND – The last time the Phillies came through Ohio, they played three consecutive games without drawing a single walk.
They scored four runs. They were swept in three games by the Cincinnati Reds.
Two weeks after departing Great American Ball Park, the Phils arrived in Cleveland and changed things up a bit. After getting beat by a dozen runs by the Indians on Tuesday night, they let Trevor Bauer go wild.
Bauer led a Indians pitching staff that issued seven walks to Phillies hitters on Wednesday night. Four of those walks led off innings.
Despite the hospitality, the Phillies once again couldn’t muster any offense in Ohio. Five Indians pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout as the Phils fell 6-0.
One night removed from hitting seven home runs off Roy Halladay and Co., the Indians tortured Cliff Lee and Co. with seven infield hits en route to victory.
The Phils, meanwhile, were shut out for the fourth time in 28 games this season.
After beginning the road trip with a three-game sweep in New York, the Phils (12-16) were swept in a two-game series in Cleveland and are off to their worst start since 2005.
Unless the Phils sweep a four-game series with the Marlins that begins tonight at Citizens Bank Park, they’ll begin a brutal portion of their schedule on Monday with a losing. Following the brief four-game homestand, the Phils leave for a seven-game, West coast trip through San Francisco and Arizona.
Beginning with the west coast trip, the Phils will play 15 of 20 games on the road, including games against the defending World Champs (San Francisco), the defending NL East champs (Washington) and the team with baseballs best record (Boston).
They’ll probably want to get their offense in gear this weekend at Citizens Bank Park before hitting the road.
On Tuesday night, the Phils’ run production came on the heels of two swings: solo home runs from Delmon Young and Chase Utley. On Wednesday, they didn’t need a home run as much as they needed a hit of any kind with runners in scoring position.
Although Lee dug his team in a hole by surrendering four runs in the first three innings, the Phillies had ample opportunities to put up a few crooked numbers of their own onto the scoreboard.
Bauer, a top prospect with a golden right arm but a wild side, too, walked the first batter in three of his first four innings.
He walked two of the first three batters he faced to begin the game. He walked back-to-back batters to begin the fifth inning.
Bauer didn’t allow a run. The 22-year-old held the Phillies to one hit in five shutout innings.
Bauer’s high walk total (six) led to a high pitch count (93) and an early exit. The Phils didn’t do any better against the Cleveland relievers that followed.
After Delmon Young worked a one-out walk and Domonic Brown followed with his (and the Phillies’) second hit of the game to begin the sixth off Bryan Shaw, Carlos Ruiz and Laynce Nix both struck out to end the inning.
In the seventh, the Phils’ first two batters reached base, but then Michael Young grounded into his seventh double play of the season (he entered the night one behind Matt Holliday for the National League lead) and Chase Utley followed with a groundout, too.
From the fifth to the seventh, the Phils had three straight innings where they had two runners on and less than two outs. They failed to score a single run three straight times.
The Phillies went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. As a result, they were shut out for the fourth time in their last 15 games.
Even when they’re not scoring at all, the Phillies often don’t score enough to win. The Phils have scored three runs or less in 16 of their 28 games (57 percent).
They are 4-12 in those games.