Phillies

Even on Nola day, Phillies finish up another terrible trip to Miami

Even on Nola day, Phillies finish up another terrible trip to Miami

BOX SCORE 

MIAMI — The Phillies finished a terrible trip to South Florida with a bad loss Sunday.

Ace Aaron Nola let a two-run lead get away in bottom of the sixth inning and the Phillies lost, 3-2, to the lowly Miami Marlins.

The Phillies ended up losing two of three in the series to Miami, the worst team in the National League.

The Phils blew a 7-0 lead in losing, 19-11, on Friday night. The loss dropped the Phillies to an inexcusable 7-9 against the Marlins this season. By contrast, the rest of the NL East has cleaned up on the Marlins this season. The records vs. Miami:

Atlanta is 15-4

The Mets are 11-4

Washington is 10-3

The Phillies entered the day 1 ½ game back in the NL wild-card chase. There are 33 games remaining.

The Phils went 3-2 on the five-game trip. They swept two games in Boston before the Miami debacle.

What happened to Nola?

He was absolutely cruising. He had retired 11 in a row and was leading 2-0 when Bryan Holaday doubled on a first-pitch fastball with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Jon Berti then stroked an RBI single and Starlin Castro a two-run double on a first-pitch curveball that was down and out of the zone. Castro’s hit gave the Marlins a 3-2 lead and the Phillies, who had just four hits, did not generate enough offense to rescue Nola.

Down by a run in the top of the ninth, the Phils got the lead man aboard but Ryan Stanek retired Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto and Corey Dickerson to end the game.

The drought ends 

Hoskins, who entered the game hitting .168 with four homers and 12 RBIs since the All-Star break, broke a drought of 85 plate appearances without a homer when he smacked a two-run shot to give the Phils a 2-0 lead with two outs in the top of the sixth. The homer was Hoskins’ 25th of the season and first since August 3.

No hustle zone

With two outs in the top of the sixth inning in a scoreless game, Cesar Hernandez stroked ball off the right-field wall. It should have been a double, but Hernandez did not run hard out of the box because he assumed a home run. Hernandez had no chance of making second after it hit the wall.

The next batter, Hoskins, got Hernandez off the hook when he clubbed a two-run homer to left center to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

TV cameras caught Hernandez thanking Hoskins as the two met at home plate after the homer. In the dugout, Charlie Manuel and Jay Bruce both briefly said something to Hernandez, who stayed in the game. On his way out to second base for the bottom of the inning, Hernandez paused and said something to Hoskins. Hoskins put his arm around Hernandez, said something and patted him on the butt.

Minutes later, the Phillies’ lead was gone.

Weak unit

The Phillies don’t have much offense on their bench and it showed in the top of the eighth when manager Gabe Kapler used Sean Rodriguez and Andrew Knapp as pinch-hitters. Rodriguez took a called third strike and Knapp flied out to center.

Up next

The Phillies return home Monday night to start a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh entered Sunday having lost 30 of 40 games since the All-Star break.

Bryce Harper, who missed all three games in Miami while on paternity leave, is expected back in the lineup Monday night.

Pitching matchups:

Monday night — LHP Jason Vargas (6-6, 3.99) vs. RHP Joe Musgrove (8-12, 4.74)

Tuesday night — LHP Drew Smyly (2-6, 6.99) vs. LHP Steven Brault (3-3, 3.98)

Wednesday night — RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.93) vs. RHP Mitch Keller (1-2, 7.24)

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Phillies manager Gabe Kapler explains decision to rest J.T. Realmuto in crucial game

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Phillies manager Gabe Kapler explains decision to rest J.T. Realmuto in crucial game

CLEVELAND — With their postseason hopes on life support, the Phillies need to be at their very best over the final 11 games to have a shot at the National League wild card.

That’s why it was a little surprising not to see J.T. Realmuto’s name in the starting lineup on Friday night.

After all, the All-Star catcher has probably been the club’s MVP this season.

Manager Gabe Kapler was armed with answers on his decision to rest Realmuto at the start of an important series against the Cleveland Indians.

“He’s totally fine,” Kapler said. “I think the most likely scenario has him catching the next two games and several after that in a row. 

“Just to be completely clear — and this is really the only way to fairly and genuinely portray what I'm sharing — this is what is best for J.T. Realmuto, him going forward this season, and his career. He needs to be protected and shown the respect that most players around the league get. And that involves helping him recover.”

Realmuto has carried a heavy load all season and especially recently.

Entering Friday night, he had started 33 of the previous 36 games behind the plate, including 14 of the last 15 and nine in a row.

For the season, he leads all big-league catchers in games behind the plate (131), starts (128) and innings (1,123 1/3). He has caught 82 2/3 more innings than Yasmani Grandal, who ranks second in the majors.

On top of all this, Realmuto has struggled at the plate recently. He was 1 for 11 in the first three games of this 11-game trip and is 0 for his last 8.

Realmuto appeared particularly down after Thursday’s loss in Atlanta. He declined to speak with reporters after the game. He was not available before Friday night’s game.

“The likelihood is that we'll see him at some point during this game,” Kapler said. “But he has worked incredibly hard, and it is a grind mentally and physically. After doing a lot of homework on it, my decision was to give him the entire day off. And when I say 'entire day off,' I mean from the catching position and from having to prepare to get ready for the start of the game. Doesn't mean we won't use him during the game, but certainly the blow leading up to the game is huge, the mental refresher is enormous, and the physical blow from just grinding like he has for so many days in a row. This felt like the sensible and responsible play for J.T. and for the Phillies moving forward.”

It’s possible that Realmuto will play the rest of schedule — or as long as the Phillies remain in contention.

The Phillies are also cognizant of Realmuto’s long-term future. The club would like to sign him to a contract extension this winter. It will probably take at least a five-year deal worth $100 million or more to sign Realmuto.

Being in an American League city and having an extra bat as designated hitter made resting Realmuto against All-Star right-hander Shane Bieber a little more palatable. Jay Bruce was the DH and Andrew Knapp started behind the plate.



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At the Yard podcast: Why 2019 Phillies weren't who we thought they were (aside from the obvious)

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NBCSP

At the Yard podcast: Why 2019 Phillies weren't who we thought they were (aside from the obvious)

Injuries and lackluster pitching are two givens. But there are two other major reasons why the 2019 Phillies weren't who we thought they were. Ricky Bottalico and Corey Seidman break it down on the latest "At the Yard."

• Rhys Hoskins has become very pitchable and has a lot of work to do this offseason.

• What were the reasons for the Phillies' mediocre performance against the NL's worst teams?

• What managerial qualities should Phillies prioritize if they move on from Kapler?

• Has Zach Eflin solidified a rotation spot for next season?

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