Coming off of an ugly game that left Joe Girardi and Bryce Harper (and many others) disappointed in the Phillies’ play, the team had an even uglier first inning Tuesday.
Aaron Nola’s stuff looked sharp to begin Game 1 of the doubleheader in D.C. He quickly dispatched of Andrew Stevenson and Trea Turner when Juan Soto hit a ball hard to the opposite field.
Rookie Mickey Moniak, starting in left field, made his second error in as many games. He was turned around and got his glove on the ball but it caromed off and went for a two-base error.
In Monday’s series opener, Moniak made a throw well wide of home plate that led to a Nationals run. It was one of three Phillies errors.
The batter after Soto Tuesday was Asdrubal Cabrera, who singled to right to score Soto. For whatever reason, Harper fielded the ball flat-footed and on the second hop. Had he charged it, gloved it after the first hop and thrown home, he could have had Soto, who is not a fast runner.
Harper then booted a ball that plated a second run on a Brock Holt RBI double in the third inning. He was charged for an error as the Nationals built a four-run lead and beat the Phillies 5-1 for the second straight game.
The Phillies' outfield defense has been poor lately, with the two Moniak errors, Adam Haseley's misplaying two balls in the last week and the Harper plays Tuesday.
Bad, bad start to the day.
The 27-28 Phillies needed to clean up in the final three games of this series against the 22-32 Nationals to end their eight-season playoff drought. The Phils came into Tuesday eighth in the eight-team National League playoff field, leading the Brewers and Giants by just a half-game.
The Phillies are 5-6 in Nola’s starts this season. They’ve lost two of the last three. They’ve also lost consecutive starts by Zack Wheeler.