SAN DIEGO – There were two Phillies killers on the field at Petco Park on Sunday afternoon and the Phillies know both of them well.
One was Freddy Galvis, the little shortstop who spent a dozen years in the Phillies organization before being traded to San Diego in December.
The other was the Phillies themselves.
Galvis’ 406-foot grand slam against Jake Arrieta might have been the crushing blow in an ugly 9-3 loss to the Padres (see first take), but it wasn’t the only blow that the Phillies absorbed.
The rest were self-inflicted.
The Phillies made two errors and had at least three other defensive miscues, one of which set up Galvis’ grand slam. They ran into an out on the bases. And they allowed six stolen bases, most by a Phillies team since June 2008.
After possibly his team’s worst showing of the season, which capped a disappointing 2-4 road trip, manager Gabe Kapler fell on the sword for his sloppy club.
“We didn't execute the fundamentals today,” he said. “That's on me. I have to do a better job of getting us prepared to play and to execute the fundamentals of this game. So that one is on me.”
Kapler didn't throw away any balls or run into any outs. And he surely didn’t help to extend the third inning for Galvis by not being able to make a play on a 40-foot dribbler in front of the plate.
So why was the loss on him?
“Because it's my job to help our players set the tone and be on top of their game — all the time,” he said.
The Phillies were seldom on top of their game on the trip, which saw them lose two of three to a good Arizona club and two of three to a San Diego club that has the worst record in the NL. Aided by a couple of San Diego errors, the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth inning Sunday. Before that, they were on their way to being shut out for a third time on the trip. The offense produced just 15 runs on the trip and the team was just 5 for 41 (.122) with runners in scoring position. Some of the team’s most important bats struggled mightily. Rhys Hoskins was 1 for 21. Carlos Santana was 3 for 22. Odubel Herrera was 3 for 21 and did not play Sunday.
Santana, the cleanup man, is second on the team with 66 RBIs but he's hitting .200 (26 for 130) since July 1 and .215 overall.
"We certainly don't think he's out of place in the four-hole in our lineup," Kapler said when asked about potentially moving Santana to a different spot in the order.
The Phillies faced some established, formidable starting pitching in Arizona. In San Diego, they faced three rookies and two of them, including Joey Lucchesi on Sunday, delivered six shutout innings. Lucchesi held the Phillies to just two hits.
“You have to give their starting pitching in this series some credit,” Kapler said. “Some young starting pitchers who showed a lot of guts.”
The poor trip left the Phillies at 65-52 as they head into an off day Monday before opening a two-game series with Boston, the best team in the majors, on Tuesday night.
While the Phillies were losing two of three in San Diego, the Braves were winning two of three in Milwaukee. The Phils and Braves are tied for first place in the NL East.
Sunday’s game turned on two plays in the third inning – a defensive miscue by the Phils and Galvis’ first career grand slam. Galvis’ slam came with two outs, one batter after Arrieta walked Austin Hedges on four pitches to load the bases. Earlier in the inning, Arrieta and catcher Jorge Alfaro had a miscommunication on a tapper by Eric Hosmer in front of the mound. Arrieta was in good position to make the play, but Alfaro came charging from behind the plate. The two converged and no play was made on what should have been an out. Arrieta retired the next two batters before Hedges came up.
Kapler had no immediate answer for the game-changing miscue.
“I haven't spoken to Jake or to Alfie about that play specifically yet,” he said moments after the game.
Was it Arrieta’s ball?
“It's something I'd like to discuss with them before I talk it through,” Kapler said.
Arrieta acknowledged a lack of communication on the play.
“From my perspective, it looked like (Alfaro) was letting me get it, so that's why I went at it,” Arrieta said. “Just one of those things where there wasn't communication. I didn't say anything to him, so he probably thought I was going to let him take it because he usually does. Just miscommunication on my part right there.”
Galvis absolutely unloaded on a 2-2 fastball for his grand slam.
He has 10 hits in six games against his old team this season. Nine of his 48 RBIs have come against the Phillies.
The Phillies will spend Monday licking their wounds and replaying in their minds the carnage from a terrible journey through the Southwest. They need improvement across the board because they have reached a crucial point in the schedule. After the two games against Boston, they have five against the Mets, three against the Nationals, three against the Blue Jays, three more against the Nationals and three against the Cubs.
“We handle losses in a series very well and we tend to come back and play well coming off of them,” Kapler said. “I'm fully confident that when we get back to Philadelphia, we're going to be back on top of our game. I’m very confident that we're going to be energized by our fans. We've played very well at home. I'm excited about that opportunity.”