ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Wisler’s recent difficulties have taken another turn for the worse.
The Braves’ right-hander is headed to the minor leagues to see if he can rediscover his slider.
“I didn’t pitch very well the last month and a half, so I definitely know I’ve earned the demotion,” Wisler said. “I know there’s nothing they can do about that. It’s on me. So I’ve got to go fight, go back down there and try to work my way back up.”
Maikel Franco, Aaron Altherr and Tommy Joseph homered off Wisler in Atlanta’s 7-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.
Wisler (4-11) has allowed nine homers in his past four starts and 16 in his past 10 starts. It’s a big decline for a pitcher who opened the season as the No. 2 starter behind Julio Teheran.
He has struggled to make pitches from the stretch and too often hangs his slider over the plate.
“The big thing for me will be focusing on the stretch and getting guys out in the stretch,” Wisler said.
Altherr was activated from the disabled list after missing the first 103 games of the season with a broken left wrist. He went 3 for 4 with two RBIs.
The Phillies took a 5-0 lead in the first on Franco’s 19th homer, a three-run shot, Joseph’s 14th homer and a run that scored on second baseman Jace Peterson’s fielding error.
Altherr’s two-run shot in the fifth made it 7-0.
Atlanta, with the worst record in the major leagues, dropped to 14-37 at home.
The Braves cut the lead to 7-3 in the bottom half of the fifth on Freddie Freeman’s RBI double, Adonis Garcia’s RBI single and Anthony Recker’s sacrifice fly.
Philadelphia closer Jeanmar Gomez earned his 27th save in 30 chances, but it was a shaky appearance. The first two batters reached. Erick Aybar grounded into a double play, but Gordon Beckham followed with an RBI single to make it 7-5.
Gomez struck out Peterson to end it with a runner on first.
Nola (6-9) gave up eight hits, three runs, three walks and struck out five in five innings. He began the game 0-5 with a 10.61 ERA in his previous seven starts before snapping a career-high, five-game losing streak.
Nola didn’t exactly inspire confidence in manager Pete Mackanin.
“He’s not the same guy,” Mackanin said. “He’s just struggling with command once again. He’s not dotting his fastball like he normally does. And his curveball is erratic. He needs to get back on track.”
Wisler allowed seven hits, two walks and seven runs — six earned. He struck out three.
Over his past 10 starts, Wisler is 2-6 with a 7.71 ERA and 16 homers allowed. Wisler’s 11 losses are second-most in the NL behind Philadelphia’s Jerad Eickhoff.
“Once he goes down there and attacks hitters and makes that breaking ball go down and away instead of down the middle, he’ll be back here with a vengeance,” Freeman said.
Garcia’s RBI double in the sixth off David Hernandez cut the lead to 7-4.
The Phillies have won five in a row against Atlanta.