Sean Rodriguez

Brewers 5, Phillies 2: Sloppy defense, mental mistakes costly in another loss to Milwaukee

Brewers 5, Phillies 2: Sloppy defense, mental mistakes costly in another loss to Milwaukee

BOX SCORE

A strange third inning was the Phillies' undoing Wednesday night in a 5-2 loss to the Brewers.

With the game tied 1-1, Jake Arrieta walked pitcher Gio Gonzalez and Lorenzo Cain to begin the third before Christian Yelich loaded the bases on an infield single to second. Cesar Hernandez misplayed the ball, which should have resulted in an out. 

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Ryan Braun grounded a ball to Sean Rodriguez at third base. Both Gonzalez (the runner on third) and Rodriguez lost track of the situation. Gonzalez stayed on third base and Rodriguez hesitated before throwing home to get the force at the plate. Had Rodriguez stepped on third, he could have gotten two outs on the play by simply tagging Gonzalez.

Instead, the inning was extended and Arrieta allowed three runs, which effectively put the game away. 

"Really unusual situation to have Gonzalez go back to the bag," manager Gabe Kapler said after the game. "If Gio goes back to the base, probably the play there is for Sean to tag him and then deal with Cain. Very confusing play, not one you see very often. Looked confusing to Sean as well."

Two innings later, Andrew McCutchen dropped a deep flyball in center field, which resulted in another run.

The Brewers are far too formidable an offense to give extra outs.

The Phillies scattered nine hits and had run-scoring opportunities but had just one knock with runners in scoring position.

The loss makes the Phillies 24-18. The Brewers are 26-19. The series wraps up Thursday afternoon and the schedule doesn't get much easier from here, with the Phillies' next five series coming against the Rockies, Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals and Dodgers — five legit NL contenders.

In a scheduling quirk, beginning Thursday the Phillies will play 12 consecutive games with a different start time than the previous game.

A couple promising ABs for Harper

One positive for the Phillies were Bryce Harper's early at-bats. Harper had the Phillies' two hardest-hit balls of the night, a 385-foot flyout against Gonzalez in the first inning and a well-struck opposite-field double in the third. 

The flyout traveled 106 mph off the bat and the double was 109 mph. Cain caught the deep fly a step in front of the wall in left-center field.

"That ball he drove to left-center field was as clean a swing as we've seen him take," Kapler said.

It had to be encouraging for Harper and the Phillies to see him stay on the ball and drive it the opposite way twice against the lefty Gonzalez. Staying back is a good way to recalibrate your timing at the plate. Now, Harper needs to do it against a pitcher with velocity. Gonzalez's heater averaged 89 mph.

Harper also made another sliding grab to save runs, sliding to rob Yasmani Grandal of a hit and an RBI in the seventh inning. That's four games in a row Harper has made a sliding or diving catch — and he's needed to do it each time, it hasn't been false hustle.

Arrieta's evening

Arrieta had a strong start to the season but his last two starts have been poor. He allowed three home runs last week in Kansas City (his most in 123 starts) and struggled with control in this one. 

His ERA has quickly risen to 4.02, a tick above last season's mark of 3.96.

His defense did not help him against the Brewers — if Hernandez or Rodriguez make the appropriate decisions on the balls hit to them, perhaps Arrieta gets out of the third inning allowing one or no runs rather than three. But Arrieta also just was not sharp. He walked four and hit a batter.

How they scored

The Phillies' only runs came on Jean Segura's first-inning home run (No. 3) and McCutchen's RBI single in the seventh. 

Segura and J.T. Realmuto had multi-hit games. Realmuto has been impressive in every way in his first season as a Phillie except in the power department. He's been sitting on four home runs since April 26. But everything else Realmuto has done — clutch hitting, defense, baserunning, game-calling — has helped the Phils win.

Up next

The four-game series ends Thursday at 1:05 p.m. when Zach Eflin (5-3, 2.47) opposes Zach Davies (4-0, 1.54).

Then come the Rockies for three games.

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Marlins 3, Phillies 1 (10 innings): This one is on the offense

Marlins 3, Phillies 1 (10 innings): This one is on the offense

BOX SCORE

This one is on the offense. The Phillies were held to just four hits in suffering a 3-1 loss in 10 innings to the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.

Starlin Castro broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run home run against Hector Neris in the top of the 10th to propel the Marlins to victory.

The Phillies’ Nos. 2 through 5 hitters went 0 for 15 with a walk.

With a chance to take control of the game, the Phils went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings.

The Phillies are now 13-12. They have lost six of their last eight.

Miami is 8-17.

The Phils are 2-2 against Miami.

The keys

• Nick Williams, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and stayed in to play left field, made what at the time was a game-saving throw to cut down a run at the plate and end the top of the ninth inning. Williams' perfect throw came in at 95.5 mph.

• Williams’ throw bailed out Hector Neris. Neris gave up a two-out double and a two-out homer in the 10th as the Marlins took the lead.

• Adam Morgan relieved Aaron Nola with two outs and runners on the corners in a tie game in the seventh. He retired pinch-hitter Isaac Galloway for one of the game’s biggest outs. Morgan has not given up a run in 10 1/3 innings (13 games) this season.

Starting pitching rules

Nola, who showed signs of putting it together in his previous start at Colorado, was very good in this one. He allowed just a run over 6 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits, all singles, walked one and struck out four.

Miami lefty Caleb Smith was also very good, holding the Phillies to three hits and a run over six innings. He walked one and struck out eight.

Smith allowed a second-inning homer to Sean Rodriguez for the Phillies' lone run.

Sights and sounds

Though J.T. Realmuto did not get a hit in the first inning, he provided some entertainment for the crowd as he battled Miami lefty Smith through a fairly incredible 16-pitch at-bat. Realmuto fouled off 10 straight pitches before ultimately striking out, but the crowd appreciated the duel. The cheers became louder with each ball Realmuto fouled off and he received a loud ovation while walking back to the dugout at Smith prevailed.

Health check

Another injury for Roman Quinn. What it means for the Phillies’ outfield picture (see story).

Up next

Jerad Eickhoff makes his first home start of the season Friday night against Marlins’ right-hander Jose Urena.

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Phillies call up shortstop Sean Rodriguez, who's known for his competitive fire

Phillies call up shortstop Sean Rodriguez, who's known for his competitive fire

NEW YORK — All signs point to Jean Segura returning to the Phillies on Saturday, but in the meantime, the Phils have another shortstop: Sean Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was called up from Triple A on Wednesday, two days before his 34th birthday. He will immediately get the start at shortstop for the Phillies, batting seventh on Wednesday night against Mets left-hander Jason Vargas.

Rodriguez's call-up was one of several roster moves the Phillies made ahead of their series finale in New York. Right-handed pitcher Enyel De Los Santos was also recalled from Triple A, while Mitch Walding and Drew Anderson were optioned back to Lehigh Valley. 

Additionally, left-handed reliever James Pazos was designated for assignment. Acquired in the Segura trade with Seattle, Pazos wasn't sharp in spring training and had a rough go with the IronPigs, allowing six runs and seven walks in 7⅓ innings.

The Phillies have had to utilize more of their 40-man roster than they would have liked these last two weeks. Scott Kingery was Segura's replacement, but then Kingery suffered a hamstring injury of his own. The next man up was Phil Gosselin, who had two singles in his Phillies debut last Friday and a three-run double Saturday but is 0 for 12 since. Gosselin also committed a throwing error in the first inning of Tuesday night's loss.

Enter Rodriguez, who last season in the majors played every position except pitcher and catcher. He's spent most of his career as a bench utilityman but had a lot of success in 2016 as a platoon player with the Pirates, hitting .270/.349/.510 with 18 homers and 56 RBI in just 342 plate appearances.

Even through his struggles the last two seasons, Rodriguez has more than held his own against left-handed pitching. Since 2016, he has a .384 OBP against lefties, which you'd think factored into the timing of this call-up. The Phillies face the lefty Vargas on Wednesday and another southpaw in Caleb Smith Thursday. 

Rodriguez, who's tight with Andrew McCutchen and thrilled to again share a clubhouse with him, had an opt-out in his contract if he didn't make the team out of spring training but decided to stay in the organization and accept the role at Triple A. 

"I'm in it to win," he said. "That's what I told (Gabe) Kapler and (Matt) Klentak. It was clear this offseason this team was trying to win."

Rodriguez had been hitting for power at Triple A, going 11 for 25 with four homers, a triple, two doubles and 12 RBI in his last six games before Tuesday night. Despite that and the Phillies' growing injured list, he tried his best to not sit by his phone and await the call.

"We can try to play GM but I learned a long time ago not to do that," he said. "You obviously see the injuries and all that but you don't buy into it, you just try to show up every day and do your job on a daily basis."

Rodriguez is perhaps best-known for his fire and competitiveness in the field, on the bases and in the dugout. He's the consummate good teammate, the kind of guy who's usually the first one out when benches begin to clear in a situation like the Phillies experienced Tuesday night when two fastballs were thrown above Rhys Hoskins' head.

He has no intentions of dialing that back as he gets reacclimated to the group of guys he spent spring training with.

"I think if you've identified pretty early on that's who you are as a player and competitor, it's hard not to just continue to be that guy," he said. "If you're not, then you're almost taking yourself and your competitive nature and putting it aside. Basically, you're putting it in the closet. You don't want to do that. 

"If that's who you are, that's who you are. You learn to somewhat not let the rage come out in a bad or negative way. That's what you try to harness and buffer up a bit. But definitely not turning it off."

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