Spring training is not all about wins and losses, but sometimes a loss is so ugly it has to be mentioned up high in the story, even when there are more newsy matters to dive into.
So, before we get to the roster matters that are consuming the Phillies in the final days of camp, a word on Saturday's 9-8 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
The Phils took an 8-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Four Phillies pitchers, all day-trippers from the minor-league minicamp, combined to walk seven batters and hit another in the inning as the Tigers scored eight times to take the lead. Phillies pitchers issued four straight bases-loaded walks in the frame.
Again, spring training is not all about wins and losses and these were not prime-time Phillies pitchers that gave up the big lead. Nonetheless, it is somewhat alarming that three games in a row, relievers have come over from minor-league minicamp and given up big leads. It does not bode well for the type of depth the Phils have waiting in the wings should there be a need in the big leagues.
Before Saturday's game devolved into a rock fight, manager Joe Girardi and the front office got a chance to look at some of the players competing for the last few roster spots.
Odubel Herrera, Scott Kingery and Adam Haseley, three of the four players vying for the center field job, all played in the game. Roman Quinn did not. Girardi said he was out with what the team believed was food poisoning. Girardi added that he was hopeful Quinn could play Sunday.
Haseley had a three-run double against the Tigers and Kingery had a double and a walk but struck out three times.
Herrera shined. He homered, doubled and singled.
"I thought his at-bats were really good," Girardi said. "He showed he could hit the ball to both directions of the field.
"He hit a home run early and then a double down the line, hit that hard, then fought off a pitch and hit it up the middle. I thought they were good."
Herrera was leading the race for the center field job at that halfway point in camp then tailed off as Quinn surged.
Can a day like this swing things in Herrera's favor?
"It can definitely help," Girardi said.
"Again, it's not a final decision for the whole year. It's a decision for opening day."
In the bullpen, four pitchers are vying for three remaining jobs.
Lefty JoJo Romero did not hurt his chances of locking down a spot with a scoreless inning. Right-hander Sam Coonrod also pitched a scoreless inning.
Vince Velasquez and David Hale are the other two pitchers in the mix for one of the final three bullpen jobs. Girardi has said he would like to keep two pitchers capable of providing length and Hale and Velasquez fit that profile. Velasquez, who had been bothered by an oblique issue mid-camp, is scheduled to pitch two innings Sunday. If he is healthy, he could be in.
"We've got three or four guys," Girardi said of the remaining bullpen contestants. "Whoever doesn't come with us, we know is a good arm and gives us depth."
The bench is still up in the air, but Brad Miller is nearly recovered from an oblique strain and could play Sunday.
Girardi indicated that he and the front office know which way they're leaning on a number of decisions as they finalize the 26-man roster.
"I just haven't had the chance to talk to all parties yet," he said.
Here's a guess at where the roster stands heading into the final two days of camp. Opening day is Thursday.
Matt Moore (L)
Jose Alvarado (L)
JoJo Romero (L)
David Hale or Sam Coonrod
That's 25 men.
The last spot on the roster appears to be down to Kingery, Haseley or utility man Ronald Torreyes.
Stay tuned. There could be some decisions Sunday.