CLEVELAND — The Phillies moved one step closer to being eliminated from postseason contention in a 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
The loss dropped the Phillies 4 ½ games out in the wild-card chase and they could be five out depending on the outcome of the Milwaukee-Pittsburgh game.
There are just 10 games remaining.
Like the Phillies, Cleveland is in must-win mode. The Indians (91-63) entered the night tied with Tampa Bay for the second American League wild-card spot.
The Phillies did not get a good start from lefty Drew Smyly.
The Indians, meanwhile, got a very good one from right-hander Shane Bieber. He gave up two runs over 7 1/3 innings.
The Phillies are 78-74. They need to win four of their final 10 games to have their first winning season since 2011.
It wasn’t good. He walked the first batter in the bottom of the third inning and was lifted by manager Gabe Kapler.
Smyly allowed the first four batters in the bottom of the first inning to reach base on a walk and three hits. Two of them scored. He gave up two more runs in the second inning. Both were unearned after a throwing error by Rhys Hoskins.
Smyly did not appear happy when Kapler pulled him from the game. But eight base runners in two-plus innings was a little much and the bullpen was able to settle things down and keep the game close.
The All-Star right-hander improved to 15-7 and lowered his ERA to 3.23.
He struck out seven and walked none. It was the eighth time this season that he’d registered at least seven strikeouts and no walks.
Bieber is a product of the 2016 draft. The Indians picked him in the fourth round out of the University of California, Santa Barbara. That was a notable draft for the Phillies because they had the first overall pick. They selected outfielder Mickey Moniak with that pick. The Phils picked pitcher Kevin Gowdy in the second round, infielder Cole Stobbe in the third round and pitcher Jo Jo Romero in the fourth round, 15 picks ahead of Bieber. Moniak played at Double A this season and Romero pitched at Double A and Triple A. Gowdy missed time recovering from Tommy John surgery and pitched at Lakewood this season. Stobbe also played there. Moniak, Stobbe and Gowdy were all chosen out of high school.
Carrasco comes up big
Carlos Carrasco, the former Phillies prospect who was traded to the Indians in the Cliff Lee deal a decade ago, registered a huge out when he retired Jay Bruce on a ground ball with runners on the corners to end the top of the eighth. Bruce could have tied the game with one swing, but Carrasco won the battle.
Carrasco is winning another battle, as well. He was treated for leukemia earlier this summer and has made it back to help the Indians’ playoff chase.
Carrasco stayed on for the ninth inning and got the save.
Shortstop Jean Segura was a late scratch from the starting lineup. He has a sore left ankle. Maikel Franco was inserted into the lineup at third base and Scott Kingery moved over to shortstop. Franco drove in the Phillies’ runs with a double in the fifth.
Kapler gave J.T. Realmuto a rest at a crucial point of the season. The manager explained why (see story).
The series continues Saturday night. Jason Vargas (6-8, 4.48) pitches for the Phillies against Cleveland right-hander Zach Plesac (8-6, 3.64). Yes, he’s Dan’s nephew.
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