PHILADELPHIA — Vince Velasquez plans to spend the rest of the season watching old videos of Zack Greinke.
He’s got a lot of free time on his hands now that the Philadelphia Phillies have shut him down for the season.
Velasquez pitched his final game this season Saturday night and was quite effective. He left with the lead but missed the chance to get his first win in almost two months when the bullpen and the defense couldn’t keep the Phillies in front.
Instead, they lost to the Atlanta Braves 6-4 in 10 innings, their fifth consecutive loss. But for Velasquez, it was at least an opportunity to close out the season on a high note.
“He had a good season, all things considered,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He started the season strong and he ended it strong. … It was nice to see.”
Velasquez pitched seven innings for just the third time this season. He allowed five hits and two earned runs while striking out eight.
“It’s not the end of the road,” Velasquez said. “It’s about learning the game and getting better for next year. This game is fun to learn. I feel good. … I give myself a lot of credit for finishing off a full season. I matured well, but there are still a lot of things to take in and learn as I go.”
Velasquez will spend the rest of the season watching tape of Greinke with backup catcher A.J. Ellis.
Ellis was acquired last week from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Carlos Ruiz. He said Velasquez reminds him of Greinke, whom Ellis caught when the two were together in Los Angeles.
Ellis gave Velasquez an assignment to study Greinke and the way he approached hitters when he was with the Dodgers.
Both Greinke and Velasquez are pitchers who rely both on a power fastball and changeup.
“We want Velasquez to win 100 games for the Phillies,” Mackanin said.
Which is why the Phillies are shutting him down after 130 innings, which are a career high.
Mackanin said the decision “came down from above,” but Velasquez admitted he knew what his innings limit was for some time.
He struck out 16 San Diego Padres in just his second start for the Phillies, but he struggled to keep his pitch count in check this season and ended up having to leave many games after just five or six innings.
That wasn’t the case against Atlanta, as he threw just 92 pitches in seven innings.
The two pitches he’d like back both came against Adonis Garcia. The Braves third baseman hit a solo homer with one out in the first inning, then another solo shot in the sixth.
“The team is clicking and I’m feeding off of that,” Garcia said. “I honesty do feel good being in the two spot. I feel like I’m getting … a lot more fastballs due to the fact of the guys hitting behind me.”
Garcia scored the winning run on a check-swing ground ball by Tyler Flowers in the 10th. First baseman Ryan Howard threw home on the slow roller, but Garcia beat the force play.
Jed Bradley (1-0) got the win in his major league debut. He threw one scoreless inning and had a strikeout.
Mauricio Cabrera got his fourth save in four opportunities.
Edubray Ramos (1-2) allowed two runs and one hit after allowing a leadoff walk to Garcia. Freddie Freeman also scored in the 10th on Jace Peterson’s groundout.
Maikel Franco had four hits for the Phillies, including three doubles, drove in a run and made a sensational diving play at third base to rob Flowers of a hit.
However, it was his error on a dropped pop-up in the eighth that led to the tying run. Franco dropped Chase d’Arnaud’s foul ball, and d’Arnaud walked and then scored on Garcia’s ground out.
“I just called for it late, and I dropped it,” Franco said.
Cesar Hernandez added a home run and Cameron Rupp snapped an 0-for-15 drought with a two-run double in the third to drive in the Phillies’ other runs.
Velasquez was looking for his ninth win of the season, and first since July 8th, but now has to wait until 2017 to get the next victory.
“I completely understood from the beginning (what the plan was),” Velasquez said. “It was a big workload on my arm. It had a toll on me, so I completely understand this decision.”
Braves: Atlanta placed RHP Aaron Blair on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 29, due to a left knee strain. To replace him on the roster, it recalled RHP Brandon Cunniff from Triple-A Gwinnett. Cunniff pitched a scoreless inning Saturday.
Braves RHP Julio Teheran (4-9, 3.12 ERA) opposes Phillies RHP Jake Thompson (1-4, 7.86) in the series finale Sunday.