The Phillies played another game Wednesday afternoon and received a far better performance from their starting pitcher than they did earlier in the day. They still lost.
Mark Leiter Jr. contributed 6 2/3 innings in a quality start. Freddy Galvis started in center field for the first time in his life. The Braves swept the doubleheader with a 5-2 win in the second game. They rolled, 9-1, in Game 1.
The team said 15,706 people paid to attend both games, but by the end of the doubleheader, entire sections at Citizens Bank Park were vacated. The Phillies have played two doubleheaders in nine days, and they were winless in all four games. Now, they head to the road for an 11-game trip.
Leiter will make two starts during that jaunt, and they are deserved. At this point, the Phillies will welcome whatever healthy arm can last more than five innings. The rotation is depleted. Leiter will have every chance in the season’s final five weeks to prove his value.
He allowed three runs Wednesday. He struck out six and walked one. Atlanta hit some balls hard; Leiter pitched in every inning but one with a runner on base. But he avoided serious damage.
The rookie righthander has a 3.88 ERA in 65 innings this season. He has provided a pleasant surprise.
Nothing else happened. The Phillies struck out a bunch. Rhys Hoskins extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single.
Galvis played center as the Phillies prepare for the apparent arrival of prospect J.P. Crawford. They are willing, it appears, to displace Galvis on occasion if it opens a spot for some Crawford at-bats in September. Crawford has seen time in recent weeks at third base and second base with triple-A Lehigh Valley.
It is not a question as to whether Galvis can play other positions; he has time at second base, third base and left field. He is a deft defender. His value, though, is highest at shortstop.
How the Phillies solve that conundrum remains to be seen.