The Phillies began a crucial seven-game series against the Miami Marlins in horrendous fashion Thursday night.
The Phils blew a three-run lead in the eighth and lost, 7-6, on a base hit by Jorge Alfaro against closer Brandon Workman with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
The loss was the Phillies’ fourth in the last six games. They fell to 21-19 and slipped to three games behind first-place Atlanta. The Braves staged a late rally and won at Washington.
The Phils now lead the third-place Marlins (20-19) by just a half-game with 20 games to play and six remaining in this series.
The Phils took a 6-3 lead into the eighth inning. Reliever Tommy Hunter came on and allowed two hits and a walk to load the bases with two outs. With dangerous Starling Marte due up, manager Joe Girardi removed Hunter in favor of closer Workman. Workman quickly served up a three-run double off the right-field wall to Marte as the Marlins tied the game.
The Phillies’ bullpen...
...is awful. It has allowed 23 earned runs in the last six games.
It entered then night with the worst bullpen ERA in the majors at 7.06.
Jake Arrieta’s night
It was pretty remarkable.
The right-hander did not look like he’d even make it out of the first inning. He took a 1-0 lead to the mound in the bottom of the first and quickly gave it back when he allowed a four-pitch walk, an RBI double and another walk to the first three batters he faced. Ten of Arrieta’s first 12 pitches were balls.
A mound meeting with pitching coach Bryan Price helped get Arrieta straightened out and he battled his way through the inning, stranded two base runners and ended up lasting 5 2/3 innings.
Arrieta threw 29 pitches in that first inning. He rebounded and threw just nine in the second inning.
Arrieta left with a 6-3 lead. He was in line to win back-to-back starts for the first time since June 25 and June 30, 2019 before the bullpen imploded.
Realmuto heats up
One of the positives of the night was the way J.T. Realmuto swung the bat. He crushed a homer to left to give the Phils a 6-3 lead in the fifth and doubled to right in the eighth. Realmuto moved to third on a ground ball after that double and was cut down on a failed safety squeeze that turned out to be a big play.
Realmuto had entered the game hitting .200 (11 for 55) with two doubles and two homers over his previous 15 games.
Now, if the Phils can get Bryce Harper going. He was 0 for 3 with two walks. Harper is 9 for 62 (.145) with a double and two homers over his last 20 games.
The kids contribute
Adam Haseley started in centerfield and drove in two of the Phillies’ runs. Third baseman Alec Bohm had two hits and an RBI. Bohm has six RBIs in the last four games.
Haseley and Bohm were the Phillies’ first-round draft picks in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Wheeler's bizarre injury
Zack Wheeler suffered a freak injury Wednesday when he caught his fingernail on something while putting on his pants, according to Phillies manager Joe Girardi.
Wheeler was scheduled to start Saturday, but will miss that start. He might be able to pitch Monday.
The two teams play a doubleheader Friday night. First pitch is 5:10 p.m. Aaron Nola will pitch the first game, and the Phillies will use a cast of relievers in the second game.