Defense was not the reason the Phillies lost Sunday’s game to the Rockies by 10 runs, but it certainly hasn’t helped them in April.
Didi Gregorius committed his fifth error of the season, bobbling a ball at shortstop. Four of the five errors have been fielding errors, the other a throwing error. On the play, Gregorius was playing back and appeared to rush himself when he didn’t need to. His range and fluidity has been in question this season and it seems he’s playing deeper to help account for it. Remember the play in Atlanta when Ronald Acuña Jr. beat out a routine ball to shortstop that Gregorius didn’t bobble? Gregorius made a strong throw but part of the reason Acuña was safe was the depth of Gregorius’ positioning.
Only two teams, the Blue Jays and Padres, have committed more errors at shortstop.
Asked this weekend about his shortstop’s defense, Phillies manager Joe Girardi acknowledged that things haven’t been as smooth and that it’s a matter of getting Gregorius more and more reps.
There was another play in the Rockies’ seven-run fourth inning that wasn’t an error but perhaps could have been made. There was a shallow pop-fly between shortstop and left field that fell in between Gregorius and Andrew McCutchen. If either player caught it, it would have been a great play, but neither was particularly close to it. Playing defense is different at Coors Field because outfielders tend to play back with how far the ball travels. Still, McCutchen has not displayed great range this season, with Phillies left fielders ranking 26th out of 30 defensively, per Fangraphs.
After a disappointing series at Coors Field, the Phillies move on to St. Louis. The Phils are 2-7 on the road this season and have won just one road series since the start of 2020. They’ve lost six consecutive series on the road.
Hit with that fact Sunday afternoon, Bryce Harper shook his head.
“That’s terrible,” he said. “I had no idea that was even in the picture. We prepare the same way every day. As individuals, we have to look in the mirror. We all miss our families but it doesn’t matter, this is what we signed up for. Can’t have excuses, can’t say this or say that. You’ve got to cowboy up and play the game no matter where you’re at, home or road.”