By Sam Bush

The good news for the Phillies is that they are 16-11, only a game and a half behind the NL East-leading Mets.

The bad news is that Vinny Velasquez is showing signs that he will never be anything more than a .500 hurler.

In uesterday’s 10-1 loss to the Braves, Velasquez allowed six runs in four innings and his record dropped to 1-4 with a 5.70 ERA.

He threw a first-pitch fastball to the first batter he faced in the first inning and it was hammered for a home run. He allowed five runs in the third inning as the Braves built a six-run lead.

“I think very directly they have just played better than us in the games that we have played them,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told “Not much more to say about it. They have gotten big hits, they have pitched a little better and they have been the better teams in the games we have played against them.”

“We feel we match up very well against the Braves,” Kapler insisted. “We have a lot of confidence every time we play them for sure.”

Velasquez allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings in his March 31 start against the Braves. He posted a 2.41 ERA in his next three starts. He struck out 20 and walked three in that stretch. He pitched at least six innings each time.

“You’re going to have one of these days and you shouldn’t beat yourself up because it’s just going to add up,” Velasquez said. “I’ll look back at some film and reflect back and go back to the actual first outings and maybe even reflect back to a couple years ago and how I was successful in a couple of games. This is the process of getting better and you utilize stuff like this to better you.”

“I’m not sure,” Kapler said about Velasquez’s drop in velocity. “He attacked. We asked him to go out there and attack. He did attack with all of his pitches. He just didn’t have his best stuff.”

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