The Phillies are embarking on a crucial stretch of their season with a profound shortage of outfielders.
Roman Quinn (concussion) and Jay Bruce (strained quadriceps) both went on the injured list Sunday, leaving the Phils with just four outfielders on the 28-man roster and just one who qualifies as a pure centerfielder.
That centerfielder, Adam Haseley, did not exactly inspire confidence with a misplay that cost the Phillies a run and set the tone for a sloppy defensive game in a 14-1 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday.
"I think we could play better," manager Joe Girardi said of the game and the team's defense in general. "When we make mistakes, it seems to be all in the same game. At times, our defense this season has been really good but there have been games like today that it's really let us down."
As for the current outfield situation, Girardi said it was "a little challenging right row. We have to figure some things out."
The Phillies play an important game Monday in New York against the Mets then a doubleheader at home against Boston on Tuesday. On Thursday, they open an only-in-2020 seven-game series at Miami that includes two doubleheaders. That's not an ideal situation to enter with just four healthy outfielders. And, lest we forget, one of them, Andrew McCutchen, requires some careful handling after last year's torn ACL. Girardi needs to get McCutchen completely off his feet now and then or use him as the designated hitter.
The outfield situation is even more challenging because Haseley is going to have to pick up the center field reps against right-handers and left-handers. He has just three plate appearances against lefties this season.
Haseley, McCutchen, Bryce Harper and Kyle Garlick, who was added from the Lehigh Valley reserve squad on Sunday, are the only healthy outfielders on the 28-man roster. Utility men Phil Gosselin and Neil Walker are both infielders by trade, but they can play the corner outfield if needed. Down on the farm, the Phils have Mikie Mahtook, Mickey Moniak and Nick Martini in Lehigh Valley, but none are on the 40-man roster.
The Phillies hope that Scott Kingery, who can play center field and has this year, is ready to come off the IL on Thursday. Until then, Haseley will likely be the guy in center field.
As for Quinn, his IL stint needs not last more than seven days if he can get through concussion protocol. So, the Phils might not have to play short in the outfield for long. Nonetheless, they have to get by this next handful of days at a time when every win and loss can turn a season.