MIAMI — You’d be hard-pressed to find a more ugly, more frustrating, more infuriating performance by the Phillies this season than the one they turned in Friday night.
The Phils blew an early seven-run lead and lost, 19-11, to the lowly Miami Marlins.
It was the type of performance that just can’t happen from a team in a playoff race.
The Marlins came into the game having lost six in a row (they scored just 13 runs in those games) and 16 of their previous 19. They were ranked last in the majors in OPS (.661), second-to-last in runs per game (3.62) and third-to-last in batting average (.240). They proceeded to maul Phillies pitching for 19 hits and 19 runs. And to think, the Phillies were coming off two wins in Boston, where they held one of majors’ best hitting teams to four runs in those games.
Bryce Harper missed the game — he’s on paternity leave after his wife gave birth to a son — but the Phillies’ offense did not suffer. The Phils raced out to a 7-0 lead in the third inning only to see starter Vince Velasquez give it all back in the bottom of the third inning.
The Phils led 9-7 in the fifth and blew that lead, as well. The Marlins scored five times in that inning. Four of the runs were unearned. Even the defense was bad.
The Phils entered the night two games back in the NL wild card race.
Vinny Velo’s night
It was bad.
And the funny thing is, he’d actually made strides recently. Over his last five starts, he’d recorded a 3.21 ERA. He should have been able to protect a 7-0 lead, but he didn’t. He lost it quickly as the Marlins got him for five hits, including a homer, and seven runs in the third inning. Velasquez’ problems started when he hit the first batter of the inning, Lewis Brinson, with an 0-2 pitch.
Extra-base hits hurt
Velasquez was tagged for a game-tying, three-run homer by Isan Diaz in the third.
Reliever Nick Pivetta gave up a go-ahead, two-run double to Neil Walker in the fifth. That came on an 0-2 pitch. Manager Gabe Kapler had lefty Ranger Suarez up in the ‘pen with the lefty-hitting Walker at the plate. Kapler stuck with Pivetta and the right-hander could not put Walker away.
Starlin Castro came off the bench and homered twice for the Marlins, who had four homers in all.
The Phillies were hurt by two defensive miscues at third base. The biggie was Maikel Franco’s error on a potential double-play ball with one out in the fifth. It opened the floodgates for the Marlins to score five runs in that inning and take a 12-9 lead. Four of those runs were unearned.
Brad Miller started the game at third and failed to make a play on a ball hit by John Berti toward the line in the third inning. It wasn’t an easy play but it was probably makeable and it would have been the second out. It ended up being one of the five hits that Velasquez gave up in the inning.
Franco had just come back from a banishment to Triple A. He had an RBI single, but struggled badly at third base. In addition to making the error, he did not look good on two plays that were ruled hits.
Teams you can’t lose to
The Phillies are 6-8 against the Marlins this season.
To put that in perspective, here’s how the other teams in the NL East have fared against the Marlins so far this season:
Atlanta is 15-4.
The Mets are 11-4.
Washington is 10-3.
Players (get to wear ugly uniforms) Weekend
Both teams wore special uniforms — the Marlins wore all white, the Phillies all black — as part of Players Weekend. Players also wore nicknames on the back of their uniforms.
Zach Eflin (7-11, 4.57) pitches against Miami right-hander Jordan Yamamoto (4-4, 4.31) on Saturday night.
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