All good things come to an end and a lot of them ended for the Phillies on Friday night.
Their six-game winning streak.
Their 11-game winning streak against NL East opponents.
Their run of seven straight games scoring at least seven runs.
Bryce Harper’s nine-game hitting streak.
Kyle Gibson’s run of quality starts in a Phillies uniform also ended in a 10-3 loss to the Miami Marlins in South Florida.
“It’s baseball, man,” Freddy Galvis said. “We’ve been playing really good baseball the last few weeks. One inning (cost us). We need to put it behind us and get ready for tomorrow.”
Despite the loss, the Phils remained two games back in both the NL East and wild-card race. Twenty-eight games remain in the season.
Miami’s ballpark has been a house of horrors in recent seasons for the Phillies. The Phils lost five of seven to the Marlins in Miami last September as their postseason hopes crashed and burned.
The Phils are 11-19 in Miami since the start of 2018. They need a quick turnaround in the middle game of the series Saturday night.
“We’re 2-3 here (this season),” said manager Joe Girardi, downplaying the ol’ house of horrors angle. “Yeah, (Saturday night's game) is important. We need to start a streak again. Yeah, it’s important because we need to win games now. There’s not that many left.”
Gibson was tagged for eight runs in 5 1/3 innings. He was charged with five runs in the sixth inning as the Marlins busted open a 3-3 game. Gibson was not supported by good defense in the frame. Three plays could have been made behind him but weren’t. Only one, a throw by third baseman Galvis, was ruled an error.
Entering the game, Gibson had registered a quality start in 18 of his 24 starts this season with Texas and the Phillies. He joined the Phillies in a deadline deal last month and had racked up a quality start (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) in each of his five starts with the club.
Gibson was staked to a 1-0 lead as Galvis led off the night with a solo homer to left-center. The lead did not last long. Gibson opened the bottom of the first by allowing a double and a walk, setting up rookie Jesus Sanchez for a three-run homer to right field. Gibson missed up in the zone with a changeup and Sanchez, who has seven homers in just 40 games this season, made him pay.
“It was one of my worst pitches of the night and a bad time for it,” Gibson said.
The Phillies battled back and tied the game thanks to the duo of Andrew McCutchen and Matt Vierling. In the second inning, McCutchen was hit by a pitch from Jesus Luzardo and scored on a triple by Vierling. In the sixth, McCutchen walked and scored on a double by Vierling.
Vierling, a Notre Dame product, started in center field. He was the Phillies’ fifth-round draft pick in 2018. He has six hits, including three for extra bases, in two starts since coming up earlier this week.
The Marlins’ decisive sixth-inning rally against Gibson started with a leadoff triple by Jazz Chisholm and an RBI single by Miguel Rojas.
The Phillies’ defense sagged in that inning and Gibson also gave up a big hit to Jorge Alfaro. In all, the Marlins scored seven runs in the frame. Five were charged to Gibson and two to JD Hammer, who threw a wild pitch that resulted in a run.
Ranger Suarez will get the ball for the Phillies on Saturday night. Trevor Rogers, who has not pitched since July 31 because of a family medical emergency, will start for the Marlins. The All-Star lefty has faced the Phillies three times this season and given up just four earned runs in 18 1/3 innings.
The Phillies were to send Zack Wheeler to the mound in Sunday afternoon’s series finale, but he has been moved back to Monday night’s game in Milwaukee. The Phils will plug Sunday’s game with the bullpen.
Wheeler leads the majors with 182 2/3 innings pitched this season. Moving him to Monday gives him an extra day of rest. Aaron Nola and Gibson will follow him in the series against the Brewers, who are on their way to winning the NL Central.
Moving Wheeler to Monday also puts him in line to pitch the final day of the season in Miami. It’s possible that the NL East or even the wild card could be decided on that day, given how close the standings are.
Matt Moore had been scheduled to pitch Monday in Milwaukee. It’s possible that he could see some action out of the bullpen Sunday.
The Phils will need some length from Suarez on Saturday night to ensure a fully powered bullpen for Sunday.