Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers 5, Phillies 2: Sloppy defense, mental mistakes costly in another loss to Milwaukee

Brewers 5, Phillies 2: Sloppy defense, mental mistakes costly in another loss to Milwaukee

BOX SCORE

A strange third inning was the Phillies' undoing Wednesday night in a 5-2 loss to the Brewers.

With the game tied 1-1, Jake Arrieta walked pitcher Gio Gonzalez and Lorenzo Cain to begin the third before Christian Yelich loaded the bases on an infield single to second. Cesar Hernandez misplayed the ball, which should have resulted in an out. 

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Ryan Braun grounded a ball to Sean Rodriguez at third base. Both Gonzalez (the runner on third) and Rodriguez lost track of the situation. Gonzalez stayed on third base and Rodriguez hesitated before throwing home to get the force at the plate. Had Rodriguez stepped on third, he could have gotten two outs on the play by simply tagging Gonzalez.

Instead, the inning was extended and Arrieta allowed three runs, which effectively put the game away. 

"Really unusual situation to have Gonzalez go back to the bag," manager Gabe Kapler said after the game. "If Gio goes back to the base, probably the play there is for Sean to tag him and then deal with Cain. Very confusing play, not one you see very often. Looked confusing to Sean as well."

Two innings later, Andrew McCutchen dropped a deep flyball in center field, which resulted in another run.

The Brewers are far too formidable an offense to give extra outs.

The Phillies scattered nine hits and had run-scoring opportunities but had just one knock with runners in scoring position.

The loss makes the Phillies 24-18. The Brewers are 26-19. The series wraps up Thursday afternoon and the schedule doesn't get much easier from here, with the Phillies' next five series coming against the Rockies, Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals and Dodgers — five legit NL contenders.

In a scheduling quirk, beginning Thursday the Phillies will play 12 consecutive games with a different start time than the previous game.

A couple promising ABs for Harper

One positive for the Phillies were Bryce Harper's early at-bats. Harper had the Phillies' two hardest-hit balls of the night, a 385-foot flyout against Gonzalez in the first inning and a well-struck opposite-field double in the third. 

The flyout traveled 106 mph off the bat and the double was 109 mph. Cain caught the deep fly a step in front of the wall in left-center field.

"That ball he drove to left-center field was as clean a swing as we've seen him take," Kapler said.

It had to be encouraging for Harper and the Phillies to see him stay on the ball and drive it the opposite way twice against the lefty Gonzalez. Staying back is a good way to recalibrate your timing at the plate. Now, Harper needs to do it against a pitcher with velocity. Gonzalez's heater averaged 89 mph.

Harper also made another sliding grab to save runs, sliding to rob Yasmani Grandal of a hit and an RBI in the seventh inning. That's four games in a row Harper has made a sliding or diving catch — and he's needed to do it each time, it hasn't been false hustle.

Arrieta's evening

Arrieta had a strong start to the season but his last two starts have been poor. He allowed three home runs last week in Kansas City (his most in 123 starts) and struggled with control in this one. 

His ERA has quickly risen to 4.02, a tick above last season's mark of 3.96.

His defense did not help him against the Brewers — if Hernandez or Rodriguez make the appropriate decisions on the balls hit to them, perhaps Arrieta gets out of the third inning allowing one or no runs rather than three. But Arrieta also just was not sharp. He walked four and hit a batter.

How they scored

The Phillies' only runs came on Jean Segura's first-inning home run (No. 3) and McCutchen's RBI single in the seventh. 

Segura and J.T. Realmuto had multi-hit games. Realmuto has been impressive in every way in his first season as a Phillie except in the power department. He's been sitting on four home runs since April 26. But everything else Realmuto has done — clutch hitting, defense, baserunning, game-calling — has helped the Phils win.

Up next

The four-game series ends Thursday at 1:05 p.m. when Zach Eflin (5-3, 2.47) opposes Zach Davies (4-0, 1.54).

Then come the Rockies for three games.

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Jerad Eickhoff pounded in Phillies loss as Ryan Braun shockingly homers again at CBP

Jerad Eickhoff pounded in Phillies loss as Ryan Braun shockingly homers again at CBP

BOX SCORE

Jerad Eickhoff was taken deep twice in the first three innings and the Phillies couldn't solve Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff in a 6-1 loss Tuesday night.

Five of the first 13 batters of the game for the Phillies drew a walk but they were unable to capitalize with men on base. Woodruff ended up allowing just one hit over six scoreless innings, a Jean Segura infield single in the opening frame.

The Phils' best run-scoring opportunities against Woodruff came in the second and third innings. In the second, Andrew McCutchen grounded out with runners on second and third and two outs. McCutchen has been a table-setter for the Phillies (.363 OBP) but has stranded 67 of the 76 runners on base during his plate appearances.

In the third, Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins walked but J.T. Realmuto hit into a double play to end the threat.

The Phils' only run came on a Jean Segura RBI single in the eighth.

The Phillies are 24-17.

Correction for Eickhoff

One of the major reasons Eickhoff entered his fifth start with a 1.50 ERA? He allowed no home runs in his first 30 innings this season. 

Against a powerful Brewers team, the market correction came. Eickhoff served up a three-run home run to Yasmani Grandal on a high, 90 mph fastball in the second inning, then a two-run shot to Ryan Braun on a hanging curve the next inning.

Eickhoff lasted just four innings, allowing five runs and 10 baserunners. 

He is one of the few Phillies who has overperformed through the first six weeks and was due for regression.

Braun's Phillies ownership continues

Braun's home run was his 14th in 36 career games at Citizens Bank Park. No visiting player has done as much damage as him here. In 160 career plate appearances at CBP, Braun has hit .406 with 27 extra-base hits and 43 RBI. His OPS is just a shade under 1.300.

Someone did the typical Wikipedia thing, editing his page to say he is the owner of the Philadelphia Phillies.

A sigh of relief with Harper

Harper made a sliding catch in foul territory in the sixth inning and came up limping. It was a scary moment, but Harper stayed in the game after a visit from Gabe Kapler and trainer Scott Sheridan. Harper must have been pretty convincing because the Phillies were down five runs at the time, the kind of situation when caution is typically exercised.

Two batters later, Harper made another sliding grab in right field and trotted off to a standing ovation. He has made four sliding or diving catches in the Phillies' last three games and has been one of their most impactful defensive players through 41 games.

Up next

Jake Arrieta (4-3, 3.78) opposes lefty Gio Gonzalez, who signed with the Brewers on April 27 and is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts.

Phillies likely to see Brewers’ prospect Keston Hiura this week

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Phillies likely to see Brewers’ prospect Keston Hiura this week

It looks like one of the top prospects in baseball will make his major-league debut in Philadelphia this week. The Brewers, per multiple reports, are calling up 22-year-old second baseman Keston Hiura, the ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft. 

Hiura was drafted one spot after the Phillies selected Adam Haseley. Like Haseley, Kiura was believed to be a fast riser following his career at UC Irvine. 

Hiura, who entered the year as a top-20 leaguewide prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com, has done a whole lot of hitting in the minors. In 202 minor-league games, he’s hit .316 with a .914 OPS. This season, the power has come on. Hiura was hitting .333/.408/.698 with 11 home runs and 12 doubles in 147 plate appearances for the Brewers’ Triple A affiliate in San Antonio. 

He earned the call-up, but it was expedited by a wrist injury to slumping Travis Shaw, who went 0 for 3 in Monday’s Phillies-Brewers series opener and is down to .163 on the season. 

Hiura will play second base, shifting Mike Moustakas over to his natural position of third base. It gives the Phillies one more big bat to worry about in a potent Brewers lineup. 

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