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

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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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The lights are dimming for Phillies after 5th straight loss with Aaron Nola on the mound

The lights are dimming for Phillies after 5th straight loss with Aaron Nola on the mound

If the Phillies are packing their bags and heading home in two weeks — as seems likely now — there will be a handful of reasons why they failed to make the playoffs for an eighth straight season.

Let’s see, they didn’t get enough from the two through five spots in the starting rotation, key players, from Andrew McCutchen to just about everyone in the bullpen, got hurt, management did not land a difference-making arm at the trade deadline, and the offense was grossly inconsistent.

There are other reasons but those are some of the biggies.

And if you’re looking for one more, this is a big one, too:

The Phillies are winless in Aaron Nola’s last five starts, a span that started August 25 in Miami and culminated Saturday night when the right-hander delivered seven innings of one-run ball only to see his team suffer a 2-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox in front of 40,688 at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phils have 15 games left.

They are 3 ½ games out of the second NL wild-card spot behind Milwaukee and the New York Mets. The Brewers are one game back, the Mets are three back. Oh, yeah, and the Phils are in fourth place in the NL East.

“I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say we have a bunch of time left because we really don't,” Nola said after the game. “We have 15 games left. It's a good bit, but it's really not that much. We're not going to hang our heads on this one. You never know what can happen. We just have to take care of business tomorrow.”

The Phillies will send Jason Vargas to the mound against Rick Porcello in the finale of the quick, two-game interleague series.

Phillies hitters will need to do more damage against Porcello than they did lefty Eduardo Rodriguez. He struck out 12 in 6 2/3 innings. He threw 105 pitches and got 19 —19 — swings-and-misses, 16 of them on an outstanding changeup.

The only run that Rodriguez allowed came in the bottom of the seventh when he issued a two-out walk to Maikel Franco with the bases loaded.

The Phillies had just five hits (four singles) on the night and were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. They got a runner to second with no outs in the eighth but Boston reliever Matt Barnes retired J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery to end the threat.

Hoskins put a charge in the ball to right-center, but it died in Jackie Bradley Jr.’s glove.

“I thought I got it enough to at least get it over his head,” Hoskins said.

Ultimately, the Phillies lost it when Hector Neris allowed two singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Hoskins acknowledged that the lights are dimming for the Phillies, who need to go at least 6-9 in their final 15 games to have a winning season.

“It’s go time, right?” he said. “Every loss feels heavier and every win feels a lot better. A big one tomorrow to obviously try to split a series, try to create some momentum to go on the road. We know the teams that we’re playing are good, but again I’ll just kind of reiterate: if we can play our game and obviously pitch the way we did tonight and hit the way we know we can we believe and are confident that we can beat anybody.”

Nola has pitched three gems and had two poor outings in his five-start winless streak. In the gems, the Phillies have just not scored runs for him. In this one, he gave up just four hits and struck out nine in seven innings.

“It's frustrating not winning in general, whoever is on the mound,” Nola said. “It was a hard-fought game right there. Every win matters right now.”

Nola’s next start is slated to be Thursday in Atlanta. Will the Phils even be worth mentioning in the race by then?

“We’ve got to find a way to scratch out runs for Nola,” manager Gabe Kapler said.



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Bryce Harper announces release of his latest Under Armour shoe, the Harper 4 trainer

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Bryce Harper Instagram

Bryce Harper announces release of his latest Under Armour shoe, the Harper 4 trainer

New drip alert!

Bryce Harper is well known for his heavy shoe swag on the field, from the sick Phillie Phanatic cleats he rocked on opening day to the Slurpee and Funyun jawns he brandished on Father’s Day.

On Friday, Harper announced the release of his latest shoe on his Instagram account, and these aren’t cleats. It’s a versatile edition to his signature Under Armour series.

The Harper 4 trainer is billed as a turf trainer, but in a video posted with the release of the shoe, Harper says, “I didn’t want it to be like a turf trainer, I really wanted it to be a trainer. Something that I could wear away from the field if I was going out to lunch or dinner or whatever and then something I could wear in the cage or at the workout facility or the gym.” 

They currently come in five colors (I’m partial to the black and white ones) and are more of a three-quarter shoe than a high top or low top. They currently retail for around $100.

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