Phillies

Another big day for Phil Gosselin, who continues to catch Gabe Kapler’s eye

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Another big day for Phil Gosselin, who continues to catch Gabe Kapler’s eye

BRADENTON, Fla. – Phil Gosselin was told a few days ago that he would not make the Phillies’ opening day roster.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t keep making an impression on club officials before he heads to Triple A.

Gosselin has remained in big-league camp. He was the Phillies’ starting third baseman in Saturday’s game against the Pirates. The Phillies lost, 5-3, but Gosselin impressed with a pair of hits and several excellent plays in the field.

One of his hits was an opposite-field homer to right on a full-count against Pittsburgh right-hander Jordan Lyles. Gosselin is not known for his power – he has just seven homers in 532 at-bats with five big-league clubs – but this ball jumped out of the park.

Gosselin is hitting .410 (16 for 39) on the spring with five doubles, a triple and two home runs. The 30-year-old utility man, a West Chester native who grew up rooting for the Phillies (see story), has caught manager Gabe Kapler’s eye in camp.

“I talked to Josh Bonifay (the team’s director of player development) today about some of our priorities at Triple A,” Kapler said after the game. “When we got to Gosselin, there was some real excitement there.

“It (his spring performance) looks like something different than he’s produced in his career. You don’t see guys like that often hit the ball that he hit to right-center today. It’s a little unusual. This is a big ballpark and the ball doesn’t always go that well. Real power, some decent bat-to-ball skills, really heady defender, a guy that everybody likes. Those are the guys that if you reach down in the middle of the summer, you’re like, 'I’m really glad that this guy is in our organization,' because you trust him. You trust him to come up and perform.”

It takes a lot more than 25 guys to get through a big-league season. Gosselin has put himself in position to help the Phillies at some point in 2019.

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Gabe Kapler takes blame for Phillies' loss, but Bryce Harper says, no, it's on him

Gabe Kapler takes blame for Phillies' loss, but Bryce Harper says, no, it's on him

There were some really entertaining moments for Phillies fans in Thursday night’s game.

To wit:

J.T. Realmuto battled through a 16-pitch at-bat in the first inning and fouled off 10 straight pitches. The crowd loved it and gave Realmuto a loud ovation even after he struck out.

And then, in a tie game in the top of the ninth inning, Nick Williams made one of the strongest and prettiest throws you’ll ever see to cut down a run from left field and give the Phillies life heading into the bottom of the ninth. Williams' throw registered at 95.5 mph, according to Statcast. To put that in perspective, neither starting pitcher threw a pitch that hard in a combined 12 2/3 innings.

But Realmuto’s grueling at-bat and Williams’ eye-popping hose work were merely footnotes to what turned out to be another bad night at the yard for the Phillies. Their 3-1 loss to the Miami Marlins in 10 innings at Citizens Bank Park was their sixth defeat in the last eight games (see observations). After coming out of the gate with an 11-6 record and getting everybody pumped up, the Phils are now 13-12.

Manager Gabe Kapler wore this defeat for his decision to use reliever Hector Neris for a second inning of work. Neris, with significant help from Williams, got out of the ninth without giving up a run. He went back for the 10th and twice was one strike away from getting out of that inning. But he gave up a two-out double to Neil Walker on a 2-2 pitch then a two-run homer to Starlin Castro on a 2-2 pitch. Walker hit a splitter, Castro a fastball.

“I didn’t put Hector in the position to succeed right there,” Kapler said. “He’s been so good all year. I really wanted to lean on him. That’s on me. I trusted him and really wanted him to get through that second inning for us and felt really confident in him. But I knew what was best for Hector was to get him out after that first inning of work. That one is on me.

“I thought he was strong. He did a really good job getting through that first inning for us. At the same time, that was asking a lot from him and putting a lot of responsibility on him. I think I could’ve went to (Edubray) Ramos there and Ramos would’ve done a very nice job for us.”

As much as Kapler tried to take the blame, he was far from the engineer of this loss.

This one was on the offense. Aaron Nola pitched well in a duel against lefty Caleb Smith. Adam Morgan got another huge out. Seranthony Dominguez pitched around trouble and delivered a scoreless inning. So much lined up for the Phillies — if they only could have gotten a big hit.

This game was theirs to be had in the sixth inning. Andrew McCutchen led off with a double and moved to third on a fly ball by Realmuto. Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins then both popped up against the stingy Smith to end the threat.

An inning later, Cesar Hernandez doubled with one out and died on second when Sean Rodriguez and Williams struck out.

That's 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings.

Like Kapler, Harper raised his hand and took blame for the loss.

“It’s on me,” he said. “With a guy at third base, less than two outs, I’ve got to get that job done. We wouldn’t be in that predicament in that situation — Hector throws a scoreless one like he’s supposed to and we’re out of there. So I’ve got to be better personally. Guy on third, less than two outs, I’ve got to get the job done.”

Harper is 10 for 51 (.196) over his last 13 games and five of those hits came in one game last week in Denver.

But he wasn’t the only hitter who did not come through Thursday night. The Phils had just four hits. Their Nos. 2 through 5 hitters were 0 for 15 with a walk.

“There’s no question our lineup hasn’t been clicking like it can,” Kapler said. “We’ve been pretty beat up by injuries, but that’s no excuse. We can perform better at the plate.”

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Marlins 3, Phillies 1 (10 innings): This one is on the offense

Marlins 3, Phillies 1 (10 innings): This one is on the offense

BOX SCORE

This one is on the offense. The Phillies were held to just four hits in suffering a 3-1 loss in 10 innings to the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.

Starlin Castro broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run home run against Hector Neris in the top of the 10th to propel the Marlins to victory.

The Phillies’ Nos. 2 through 5 hitters went 0 for 15 with a walk.

With a chance to take control of the game, the Phils went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings.

The Phillies are now 13-12. They have lost six of their last eight.

Miami is 8-17.

The Phils are 2-2 against Miami.

The keys

• Nick Williams, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and stayed in to play left field, made what at the time was a game-saving throw to cut down a run at the plate and end the top of the ninth inning. Williams' perfect throw came in at 95.5 mph.

• Williams’ throw bailed out Hector Neris. Neris gave up a two-out double and a two-out homer in the 10th as the Marlins took the lead.

• Adam Morgan relieved Aaron Nola with two outs and runners on the corners in a tie game in the seventh. He retired pinch-hitter Isaac Galloway for one of the game’s biggest outs. Morgan has not given up a run in 10 1/3 innings (13 games) this season.

Starting pitching rules

Nola, who showed signs of putting it together in his previous start at Colorado, was very good in this one. He allowed just a run over 6 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits, all singles, walked one and struck out four.

Miami lefty Caleb Smith was also very good, holding the Phillies to three hits and a run over six innings. He walked one and struck out eight.

Smith allowed a second-inning homer to Sean Rodriguez for the Phillies' lone run.

Sights and sounds

Though J.T. Realmuto did not get a hit in the first inning, he provided some entertainment for the crowd as he battled Miami lefty Smith through a fairly incredible 16-pitch at-bat. Realmuto fouled off 10 straight pitches before ultimately striking out, but the crowd appreciated the duel. The cheers became louder with each ball Realmuto fouled off and he received a loud ovation while walking back to the dugout at Smith prevailed.

Health check

Another injury for Roman Quinn. What it means for the Phillies’ outfield picture (see story).

Up next

Jerad Eickhoff makes his first home start of the season Friday night against Marlins’ right-hander Jose Urena.

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