The sloppiness that the Phillies have shown on the field this season extended into the dugout Tuesday night as an embarrassing lineup card gaffe nearly cost them a win.
In the end, manager Joe Girardi and the Phillies saved face with a 6-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park.
The win evened the Phillies' record at 15-15. It marked the first time that the often sloppy, consistently inconsistent team has won back-to-back games since the third and fourth games of the season, a span of 25 games.
But instead of the postgame focus being on the modest winning streak, it was on the dugout mistake that came to light in the top of the seventh inning.
"I'm livid with myself," Girardi said. "It's just stupid on my part."
Aaron Nola completed six innings of work and Girardi went to the bullpen with a five-run lead in the top of the seventh. He called upon Enyel De Los Santos to start the inning, but De Los Santos, called up earlier in the day, was not listed on the umpires' lineup card and therefore was ruled ineligible after he trotted in from the bullpen.
Milwaukee ended up scoring four runs in the inning against two other Phillies relievers.
Hard-throwing Sam Coonrod ended up saving the day — and Girardi's bacon — by getting the final two outs in the eighth and three in the ninth to preserve the one-run victory. Coonrod got the final out of the game with runners on the corners.
Nola battled command issues but managed to hold the Brewers to one run over six innings. That run came in the first inning when he threw 30 pitches and allowed a double, a single and two walks.
Nola allowed just one baserunner over the next four innings and benefitted from a pair of solo homers by Andrew McCutchen, an RBI base hit by Alec Bohm and a three-run homer by Brad Miller in taking a 6-1 lead into the sixth inning.
With his pitch count rising above 100, Nola allowed two hits to open the sixth inning and he hit a batter with one out to load the bases. With the pressure on, he got a fly ball and a strikeout (a 94 mph fastball on his 114th pitch) to keep the Brewers from scoring.
Asking the bullpen to get nine outs on a night when Hector Neris (he threw 40 pitches Monday night) and Jose Alvarado (he was serving the final game of a two-game suspension) were not available was going to be a tall task to begin with.
It got a little taller when the Phillies' dugout brain trust was flagged by the umpires from bringing into the game a pitcher who was not on the lineup card.
De Los Santos was called up from Triple A earlier in the day. The transaction was announced to the media at 5:19 p.m. and his name was on the lineup cards that were distributed in the press box.
His name was also on the lineup card that Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell had.
But De Los Santos' name was not on the card that the umpires had. Cristopher Sanchez, the player De Los Santos replaced, was still on the umpires' card.
"Every day, we submit the lineup, a roster, and it goes to Major League Baseball," Girardi said. "We made a roster change and I just didn't catch it. Ultimately, it falls on me because I didn't catch it.
"MLB reproduces and sends the cards to us and we print them out. I didn't notice that De Los Santos wasn't on there. I tell you, I look at them all the time. I look at the cards and I count the people. Starting pitcher is on there and you make sure you have 26 people. I missed it today."
Lineup cards used to be exchanged at home plate before the game with the opposing team and the umpires getting a copy. MLB became a middle man two years ago when it began partnering with gambling entities. Now, lineups are first sent to MLB and then returned to the teams. It's still the responsibility of the team to give them one last check to make sure MLB got it right.
Counsell, the Brewers manager, had some empathy for Girardi. He was burned by a similar situation, a late transaction, earlier this season.
"Honestly, I kind of thought that the system needed to change a little bit because, you know, we actually had the correct card but somehow the umpires didn't," Counsell said. "It's all when it gets printed out and kind of the time that ... what time the umpires' card got printed out and so it seems like there's a better system that probably could be put in place."
De Los Santos was told to leave the field as he arrived at the mound for his warmups and David Hale and JoJo Romero combined to give up four runs. Jackie Bradley Jr.'s homer cut the Phils' lead to 6-5.
The Brewers got no closer thanks to Coonrod.
"We've just got to pick up our coaching staff whenever that happens," Coonrod said. "It wasn't a big deal. We just came in and picked each other up."