Self-inflicted wounds hurting Velasquez

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“Terrible,” Velasquez said following a 5-4 loss to the Mets. “These first two starts are not the way to go. I’m not even giving my team a chance to win. This is horrible.”

Velasquez struck out 10 batters on Friday against the Nationals, but he allowed four runs in just four innings because he threw 94 pitches. He gave up five runs on five hits with four walks, one homer and seven strikeouts in five frames against the Mets. He needed 100 pitches.

The 24-year-old battled self-inflicted wounds. He threw a 1-2 sinker to Michael Conforto in the third, which was hit to left field for a solo home run. It was the ninth time this season the Phillies have allowed a two-strike home run, which leads the Majors. The Rockies entered the night second with five two-strike homers surrendered.

“That’s really not a part of my repertoire,” Velasquez said of the pitch to Conforto. “A back-door, two-seam to try to freeze him. I’m not known for that. Again, I’m trying to do stuff that’s out of my repertoire. I don’t know why. I’m glad I recognize stuff like that. Sometimes, it’s just the heat of the moment gets the best of me.”

Conforto's solo homer

But the fifth proved to be the real killer. Velasquez hit No. 8 hitter Travis d’Arnaud with a pitch and walked Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler to start the inning. He then walked Conforto to load the bases.

Three runs eventually scored.

“I’ve just got to go back to Stage 1,” Velasquez said. “I just want to be labeled a pitcher.”

Cabrera's two-run single

Velasquez entered the season wanting to pitch deeper into games, but so far it has not happened. He has gone fewer than six innings in 13 of 26 starts since he joined the Phillies last year. He knows that must improve.

“It’s not the right way to start,” Velasquez said. “You know, there’s a turning point somewhere. It’s coming around. I’m not giving up too quick. But I know the consequences if I don’t do my part. I’m fully aware of that. So we’ll take this day off tomorrow and get back on the road in Washington and do some damage there.” 

Added Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: “He’s just not hitting his location consistently. When he can do that, he’s going to be really good.”

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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