Philadelphia Phillies v New York Yankees
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The Philadelphia Phillies, the reigning National League champions, lost to the New York Yankees 8-1 (box score) on Monday night, dropping them to 0-4 on the year. These Phillies had already become the first pennant winner to start the ensuing season with three consecutive losses since the 2007 St. Louis Cardinals. Those Cardinals won their fourth contest en route to 78 wins overall.

In the four losses so far, the Phillies have been outscored by 37-12 margin -- or, by more than six runs per contest. They become the first team to start 0-4 after making the World Series in the previous season since the Cardinals in 1985.

The Phillies, who were swept by the Texas Rangers over the weekend, received another disappointing performance from their starting pitcher on Monday. Taijuan Walker, making his team debut, failed to complete five innings. He surrendered four runs on four hits and three walks. He also struck out five batters over the course of 4 ⅓ innings. (Reliever Yunior Marte subsequently made matters worse by giving up four runs while recording one out.)

Factor in disappointing efforts by Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, and the Phillies have now received fewer than five innings in three of their four starters. Bailey Falter, for his part, did last 5 ⅓ innings on Sunday. Here's a look at how the Phillies' rotation has performed:

  • Aaron Nola: 3 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 SO
  • Zack Wheeler: 4 ⅓ IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 7 SO
  • Bailey Falter: 5 ⅓ IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 3 SO 
  • Taijuan Walker: 4 ⅓ IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 5 SO

Left-hander Matt Strahm, a converted reliever, is expected to start on Tuesday. The Phillies can only hope Strahm gives them more than their other starters have the first time through the rotation -- including, specifically, a win.