Phillies

Odubel Herrera apologizes to teammates after miscues cost Phillies a game

Odubel Herrera apologizes to teammates after miscues cost Phillies a game

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ATLANTA — The dateline says Atlanta, but it might as well say Planet Odubel.

Phillies fans have visited the locale before.

It’s the place where you can see Odubel Herrera drive balls into the gaps with his sturdy bat and run them down with his quick legs. It’s the place where he oozes the talent that allowed him to go from unheralded Rule 5 pick in 2014 to the All-Star Game in 2016.

It’s also the place where he can infuriate those around him with boneheaded plays, lapses in concentration and lack of hustle.

Monday’s game against the Atlanta Braves offered a distilled version of what makes Herrera alternately exciting and exasperating. He belted a solo home run to give the Phillies a lead in the first inning, but by the time the game was four innings old, he’d made a mistake on the bases and in the outfield and both proved costly in a 2-1 loss in which the Phils wasted a strong start from Aaron Nola and saw their six-game winning streak die (see first take).

Herrera’s play earned him a postgame meeting with manager Gabe Kapler. A few moments later, Herrera spoke with reporters and offered his apologies to his teammates.

Herrera’s first miscue came in the third inning when he was on his way to a hustle double but was called out when he failed to slide into second. Had he slid, the Phils would have had runners at second and third with one out for the middle of the order. Instead, there were two outs and winning pitcher Julio Teheran eventually pitched out of trouble.

“I’m not sure if the game changed there, but it was certainly an important play in the game,” Kapler said. “There’s no doubt about that. I talked to Odubel about it. It’s a play you have to slide on. He knows that. And next time he goes in, he’s going to slide, for sure.”

Herrera knew he messed up because he swatted himself upside the head as the umpire called him out. He said he misread the play and thought he could make it without sliding. On his way out to center field for the next inning, Herrera and Rhys Hoskins chatted briefly in the outfield. Hoskins appeared to be giving Herrera a pep talk or maybe some tough love.

“I apologized to him,” Herrera said. “I said, ‘My bad. My bad.’ I felt bad. He said, ‘Don’t worry, we got you.’”

In the fourth inning, Herrera and rightfielder Aaron Altherr failed to communicate on a sacrifice fly. No one called the ball, so Altherr came way over from right field to make the play, but his throw to the plate was late, allowing Ozzie Albies to score what proved to be the decisive run. The ball should have been Herrera’s all the way.

After the game, Kapler told Herrera, “You’re the captain of the outfield as the centerfielder and so at that point, you call everybody off, you take that ball, you get behind it, and you make your best throw to the plate. He understands that well and next time out he’s going to throw his ass out at the plate.”

Herrera admitted he should have called for the ball and made the play.

“It’s something I have to learn from,” he said, referring to the whole night.

Krukcast: Why Philadelphia sports fans are great

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Krukcast: Why Philadelphia sports fans are great

On this edition of Krukcast, John Kruk and Gregg Murphy discuss Philadelphia sports fans. Despite the national narrative, why the fans of this city are great. Also, the expectations of the fans are not unreasonable at all.

Plus, Kruk shares his favorite fan stories from his playing days. One involves having beers with opposing fans after a game.

1:00 -  The national myth that Philadelphia fans are the worst.
5:00 -  Are fans here that different from other fans?
10:00 - Most creative fans around baseball.
14:00 - Murph's worst fan story (shocker).
18:00 -  If the fans here are so bad, why do players choose to play in Philly?

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Keep an eye on the record – will they finish over .500? – and Scott Kingery in final week of Phillies season

Keep an eye on the record – will they finish over .500? – and Scott Kingery in final week of Phillies season

ATLANTA — The final week of the Phillies season is upon us.

The team has been eliminated from all postseason possibility after a collapse that has seen it post a record of 15-29 since it was in first place in the NL East on Aug. 5.

Here are a few things worth keeping an eye on over the final week:

• Will the team finish with a winning record?

On Aug. 5, the Phils were 15 games over .500 and the thought of a sixth straight losing season seemed incomprehensible. Now they are just a game over .500 and need to win four of their final seven — no easy task with four against contending Colorado on deck — to finish with a winning record.

“It’s very important,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Everybody understands that there's a lot of value in having a winning season.”

The Phils have not had a winning season since 2011, the last time they made the playoffs. They finished .500 in 2012.

• Will Aaron Nola get one more start (see story)? 

• How much more will Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro and J.P. Crawford play?

Williams is nursing a sore and swollen right middle finger and it hurts when he swings. Alfaro came out of Sunday’s game with a sore right quad muscle. Crawford still has a sore right shoulder. He fell on it making a play in the field Wednesday night and was not ready to play Sunday.

• Will Scott Kingery get some time at second base?

It’s his natural position and he could be the guy there next season if Cesar Hernandez is dealt.

“I don't think there's a need, but I think it would be cool to see him out at second base before the season's over,” Kapler said. “We're not going to force anything. If it makes sense for our club and it gives us a chance to win and is the right thing for Scott Kingery, we'll do it.”

Kingery has played just 23 innings at second this season and not started there since April 16.

“At this point, I think it might feel a little bit weird to go over there,” Kingery said. “But I think to get back to the natural position, maybe just find some rhythm over there and get at least a couple games over there. So if something ends up happening and I play there a little more next season, I’ll be ready for it.”

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