Phillies

Marlins 2, Phillies 1: Aaron Nola strikes out 10 but Phillies lose fifth straight game

Marlins 2, Phillies 1: Aaron Nola strikes out 10 but Phillies lose fifth straight game

BOX SCORE 

Aaron Nola delivered but the offense did not.

The Phillies’ spiral continued Friday night in a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. A sellout crowd of 44,420 was on hand for a retirement celebration honoring Chase Utley.

The loss was the Phillies’ 14th in the last 20 games as they fell to 39-36. They remained 4 ½ games behind first-place Atlanta. The Braves lost to Washington on Friday night. The third-place Nationals are suddenly just two games behind the Phillies in the NL East.

Nola pitched very well but received little run support.

The Phillies have lost seven of their last eight games. They have scored two or fewer runs in five of those losses.

Nola’s night

He went eight innings and gave up just two runs, one of which was unearned. He scattered six hits, walked one and struck out 10.

It’s hard to win when your team scores just one run, however.

With little run support, Nola paid a steep price for a couple of mistakes.

Mistake 1: With two outs in the second inning, he fell behind Bryan Holaday, 2-0. Holaday was sitting fastball and he got a juicy one — 92.4 mph and right down the middle. He hammered it for a solo homer.

Mistake 2: In a tie game in the sixth, Nola hit Brian Anderson with a first-pitch curveball. Anderson moved to third on a hit and scored the go-ahead run on a tapper to third base.

Costly error

Scott Kingery got the start at third base. He had a chance to cut down Anderson at the plate in the sixth inning, but could not get the handle on Cesar Puello’s slow tapper to third. Kingery was charged with an error on the play, his first of two on the night.

Bad clutch

The Phillies went just 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Neither of the hits produced a run.

The Phils scored their only run on a double-steal with Bryce Harper taking second and Roman Quinn scampering home in the third inning.

Some of the Phils’ missed chances included:

They loaded the bases on a single, a walk and a hit batsman with two outs in the fourth. That brought up Harper with a chance to do damage. He flied out to right field on the first pitch.

The Phils wasted a leadoff double from Rhys Hoskins in the fifth.

The Phils’ last best threat came with runners on the corners in the eighth. Lefty Jose Quijada struck out pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez to end the threat.

Up next

The series continues on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Vince Velasquez (2-4, 4.71) will face right-hander Elieser Hernandez (0-2, 3.95).

Manager Gabe Kapler talked about Velasquez’ latest opportunity to start here (see story).

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The OG Phillie Phanatic wants Major League Baseball to lighten up

The OG Phillie Phanatic wants Major League Baseball to lighten up

Dave Raymond, the OG Phillie Phanatic, was alarmed when he read the news earlier this week.

No Mascots!

Has Major League Baseball lost its mind?

Or worse, its sense of humor?

Don’t misunderstand, Raymond, the man who breathed life into that big ball of green fur from the time it debuted in 1978 until 1993, is all for ridding the world of this nasty coronavirus beast. He’s all for social distancing, frequent handwashing and everything else that goes with protecting folks from getting sick. He knows how serious this thing is.

And that’s why he’s hoping that MLB won’t follow through on its plan to ban mascots from games when and if the sport comes back with a proposed 82-game schedule in July.

“I understand that only essential personnel can physically be at the games,” Raymond said Friday. “But I would argue that in these serious times mascots are more essential than ever.”

After shedding the Phanatic’s fur and handing the keys to the ATV to the equally brilliant Tom Burgoyne 26 years ago, Raymond dedicated his professional life to the concept of fun. It’s serious business. Raymond has owned and operated companies that help professional teams and college sports programs develop mascots/brands. He has trained mascots and helped found a mascot Hall of Fame. His current focus is motivational speaking. Everything is centered around the Power of Fun — which just so happens to be the title of his book — and how it can make a difference in people’s lives.

In these trying times when lives have been lost, when people have gotten sick and when the world has wrapped a mask around its face and gone into quarantine, Raymond is preaching louder than ever about the importance of a little fun and the respite it can offer in difficult times.

“It’s a scientific fact that laughing helps a person emotionally and physically,” he said.

That’s why he believes mascots need to have their place in baseball’s return.

“Mascots are a reflection of the fans’ heart and soul and part of the reason fans get emotionally connected to their teams,” he said. “During this time, we need the connection they provide more than ever. I understand that fans can’t be in the stadiums, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still engage them through mascots and character brands. Baseball needs to be creative and carve out space for entertainment.”

Raymond proposes that mascots be featured on television broadcasts when the game returns. It would be kind of funny to see a camera pan over to the Phanatic sitting all alone in section 305. Maybe even have Bobby Vinton’s Mr. Lonely play in the background.

If the Phanatic absolutely, positively cannot be in the ballpark, then he could be featured through technology and social media. Raymond proposed live streaming the Phanatic, wherever he might be, watching the game. Run it across social media platforms and have fans follow along. Raymond also proposed prerecording videos that could feature fans playing catch with the final throw landing in the Phanatic’s glove as he stands on the field. Another idea: Replace the Phanatic’s middle-of-the-fifth-inning dance skit with a live Zoom call on Phanavision and let fans log in. He’d like to see this stuff in every major league city.

“I understand it’s safety first, but there’s still room to lighten things up a little,” Raymond said.

Raymond is sharing this message with mascots who have been sidelined all over the country, from the major leagues to the minor leagues to the colleges. He has personally tutored many of them. They are his friends. Some have been furloughed from their jobs.

“It’s really devastating,” he said.

On Tuesday, Raymond will host a Zoom webinar for mascots and officials from teams, leagues and colleges that he has worked with over the years. It’s titled What The Heck Should My Mascot Do Now?

For Dave Raymond, the answer is simple:

Follow the rules, but by all means, be creative, embrace technology and mascot on.

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Phillies Talk podcast: Locations, opponents, details on Spring Training II

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Phillies Talk podcast: Locations, opponents, details on Spring Training II

On today's Phillies Talk podcast, Jim Salisbury and I discussed what Spring Training II could look like amid Jim's report that the Phillies will likely get to stay home and train in South Philadelphia.

• Benefits of having camp at home.

• Who could Phillies play in Spring Training II?

• What happens to the minor-leaguers? Will there even be a minor-league season?

• Just how big could regular-season rosters get?

• Spencer Howard will likely put pressure on Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez.

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