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The Phillies and their lousy defense

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The Phils' horrible glove work cost them again on Thursday, continuing just more of the same.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We knew the Phillies would struggle to score runs this season. We knew their starting rotation would be vulnerable and potentially among the worst in the National League after Cole Hamels.

But we didn't know the defense was going to be THIS bad.

In their ghastly 9-1 loss to the Miami Marlins on Thursday, the Phillies committed another two errors, bringing their season total to 17.

That's 17 errors in 16 games. In fact, the Phils have almost twice as many errors as they do home runs (9), and their 17 errors ties them with the Washington Nationals for the most in baseball. They have also committed at least two errors in six of their 16 games.

On Thursday, it was second baseman Cesar Hernandez with a fielding error and shortstop Andres Blanco with a throwing error, the first for both. But just about everyone on the team has gotten involved in the early going.

And forget about this talk about the errors piling up because the Phils have more young kids playing. The veterans are just as responsible.

The team leader in errors is a surprise, Chase Utley with 3. Cody Asche, Freddy Galvis (usually a very good defender), Odubel Herrera and Carlos Ruiz all have 2, with David Buchanan, Hamels, Ryan Howard, and Darin Ruf chipping in 1 a piece.

And some of the errors have been ones that would make the Bad News Bears point and laugh.

You get the idea.

After the game, manager Ryne Sandberg said he's not happy with all of the giving away of outs and everything (quotes per CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury).

"We've got some work to do," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We have to tighten up the defense. We have to play a little bit smarter. Tighten up the fundamentals. In those departments, it was not a good game for us.

"Fundamental baseball is a priority. Making routine plays is a priority. Hitting the cutoff man is a priority, so it's been disappointing the last two games. It's frustrating. It really is."

Coming into Thursday's bloodbath against Miami, the Phils' defense had -8 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), 26th out of 30 MLB teams. Their .973 fielding percentage was tied for 27th. They had turned just 17 double plays, 27th in baseball (this despite Phils pitchers throwing ground balls 45.5% of the time, 9th most in baseball). And they had given up 11 unearned runs in 15 games before Thursday. Only Milwaukee and Washington (15), had given up more.

Whether you use old defensive metrics or the new-fangled ones, the Phils' defense is bad.

We all suspected the Phillies were going to be a bad team this year. The fact they are losing games and struggling to score runs is not a surprise. But the sheer incompetence of the defense, and the lack of fundamentals, is.

Of course, perhaps this is what you get when you continue to play Howard at first virtually every day, have a converted second baseman as your starting center fielder in Herrera, and a third baseman in Asche who will never be confused for Scott Rolen or Adrian Beltre.

The Phils are simply not good enough to be giving away outs to other teams.

Bad offense is boring to watch. The starting rotation is what it is. But the comically bad defense being played by the Phils so far this year has been embarrassing.

There is a way to lose with grace and dignity. But committing five errors in the last two games while being outscored 15-2 by a Marlins team that came into the series with a 3-10 record and a manager on the hot seat isn't it.

Of course, this may not change anytime soon. Domonic Brown could be back at some point soon, the veterans aren't getting any younger, and Herrera isn't going to learn center field overnight.

The Philadelphia Phillies are putting the "fun" in fun-damentals.