‘I still believe in myself,' Dominguez says after another rough outing

‘I still believe in myself,’ Dominguez says after another rough outing originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

ANAHEIM — Seranthony Dominguez’ rough month continued in the Phillies’ 6-5 series-opening loss to the Angels on Monday night.

The Phils scored three more runs in the top of the first to strike first for the eighth straight game, then Cristopher Sanchez gave back single runs in the first and second innings and two more in the sixth as the Angels tied it.

Dominguez, who owns a 9.58 ERA, took the loss. He allowed back-to-back singles in the bottom of the seventh and the Halos pushed both across with two outs on a wild pitch by Dominguez and an errant backhand flip to the plate by Garrett Stubbs.

Dominguez was trying to go up-and-away on the pitch and just yanked it. He threw two pitches to the backstop in the same at-bat against Taylor Ward.

“It’s hard for me (right now),” Dominguez said. “I still believe in myself, and every time they give me the opportunity, I’ll go out and compete the same. I can’t give you the answer 100 percent right now, I just try to do my best when they give me the opportunity. I’m working on getting better each game.”

Dominguez gave up four runs last Wednesday in a three-run loss in Cincinnati. Manager Rob Thomson used him in a lower leverage situation two nights later and was happy with how he bounced back in a 1-2-3 inning, but Monday was the right-hander’s seventh shaky performance out of 12 this season.

“He shouldn’t be,” Thomson said when asked if Dominguez is dealing with a confidence problem. “He threw the ball really well in San Diego. He’s got to make pitches but I think he’s fine mentally.

“I thought he was getting out of that. He was 0-2, had just struck out (Jo) Adell. It’s just too bad. Infield single started the whole thing.”

The Phillies’ last three losses have been charged to Dominguez and Sanchez, two of their only struggling arms. Sanchez generated just one swinging strike among the 75 pitches he threw, a changeup in the dirt to strike out Mike Trout of all people in the fifth inning. He didn’t throw the trademark changeup much, especially early. Just 56 percent of Sanchez’ pitches were strikes.

“I didn’t feel great with it today,” Sanchez said of the changeup. “I didn’t feel it like I usually do.”

He also struggled with the running game again. Three of the first four Angels reached in the second inning and Luis Rengifo and Cole Tucker executed a double steal. There have been nine stolen bases this season with Sanchez on the mound, the most for any pitcher in the majors. The Angels had two more bases stolen later in the game but were forced to retreat after foul balls.

Sanchez and the Phillies are working on the running game problem and sometimes it causes a pitcher to split his focus more than he should.

“I think there are times when that happens because we’re talking about it, we’re working on it, so it might be on his mind, but it’s a situation where you’ve just got to go get the hitter,” Thomson said. “We’ll keep working on holding runners, but you’ve got to go attack the hitter and take care of that.”

Sanchez is conscious of the issue.

“That’s always going to be a challenge but I need to be better, I need to improve, I need to keep working on those things,” he said. Changing the tempo to hitters and runners as well and not losing focus on home plate, which is the main thing.

The outcome might have been different if the Phillies tacked on the way they have lately, but they managed only two hits after the first inning, a one-out single by Trea Turner in the fifth and a leadoff single by Garrett Stubbs in the seventh.

The Phillies had the guys they wanted at the plate in that seventh inning but the Angels intentionally walked Bryce Harper, then unintentionally-intentionally walked NL Player of the Week Alec Bohm. Former Angel Brandon Marsh came up in what could have been a storybook moment but grounded out to first base on the first pitch.

Marsh had another chance with the tying run on second base and two outs in the ninth inning but struck out to end the game.

“We always want it, we always know that we have the best guys out there to get it done,” Stubbs said. “I don’t think there’s any one guy that comes to the plate that we don’t expect or have the feeling that this could be it, whether it’s a homer, a double, a single, a walk.”

It didn’t happen on Monday night as the Phillies’ four-game winning streak came to an end. They’ve won 11 of 14 and had taken the first game of seven consecutive series after dropping the first two on their opening homestand.

They look to even it up with the Angels Tuesday night with Spencer Turnbull (1.33 ERA) making what could be his last start for a little while.

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