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Sure, I definitely feel like talking about that trash inning Hector Neris threw on Sunday

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What else could you possibly want to do after such a dumb loss than zero in on the specific dumbness of it?

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to assign the climax of yesterday’s ninth inning to any particular moment: The hit batter. The first free pass. The walked-in run.

My personal favorite is the one that started it all: Matt Wieters’ at-bat. Wieters, who led off the inning for the Nationals, was a huge candidate to record an out to start the frame. Instead, he pecked a Hector Neris offering to second base and managed to scramble down the line safely. Now, a catcher with low foot speed and a weak offensive output thus far (.208 BA, .700 OPS) was on base, where he could be replaced by a faster set of legs (Rafael Bautista), which could race to third base (THIRD base!) on an off-target Neris pick-off throw, putting the tying run 90 feet from home with no outs and therefore, essentially, tying the game.

From there, the inning’s dirtiness was undeniable. Neris had a brief encounter with his manager, then, with the bases loaded and no outs and the game tied at 4-4 and the infield converting into a desperation diamond. We’ll never know what was said between Neris and Gabe Kapler, but whatever it was, it failed to inspire the Phillies’ closer to lock things up. Wilmer Difo knocked the walk-off single and the Phillies dropped a heartbreaker in what has become for many the season’s low point.

And now for a week of debating Neris’ merits as a closer, how many chances he deserves, what Kapler could have done to prevent this, whether or not the Phillies can beat good teams, and how exactly Odubel Herrera is going to be blamed for all of this. Nobody wanted to talk about the Phillies’ crushing 5-4 loss just after the game on Sunday, but on The Dirty Inning, we went in on it anyway, just so you wouldn’t be alone.

Granted, Neris was protecting a one-run lead which, for a guy without impenetrable stuff, is a tough ask. The bullpen as a whole failed to come through late for the Phillies, as Luis Garcia recorded an out but then left after walking Moises Sierra in the eighth. Tommy Hunter then walked future hero Wilmer Difo and, yes, gets credit for subsequently striking out Bryce Harper in a key spot. But Harper is worth the same amount of outs as anyone else: One. That meant Hunter was still after that pesky third, and another Kapler committee meeting was followed by a pair of singles that loaded the bases and slimmed the lead to one run.

Maybe the mound visits are the problem, because the Phillies held another one just before Hunter chucked a wild pitch past Matt Adams, allowing base runner Trea Turner to scamper to third base. The chief difference between this inning and the final one is that Hunter eventually managed to retire Adams on strikes with the lead still “intact;” just not the same lead, and one much more susceptible to being lost. So Hunter gets kudos for getting Harper, but using up all of the insurance runs before Neris had the chance to log the save isn’t exactly helpful.

Nevertheless, Neris came out and threw one of the least watchable frames in recent Phillies history, failing to get the save, keep runners off base, or even record an out. For a guy who was 26 of 27 in save opportunities, this may seem like an anomaly. But Neris is always wobbling along that razor’s edge in exactly the way you don’t want a closer to do. This time, it cost him, and another “statement series” for this young Phillies team turned into a the wrong kind of statement.

So, where do we go from here? The Giants, a team that has scored 33 runs in its last four games, are coming to town, with the Phillies’ morale dwindling even lower than it was after the series losses to the Braves and Diamondbacks. Neris may be ready talk about Sunday at some point this week, and perhaps Kapler even sends him back out there to make a point about trust, or something. But in any case, it’s clear that the closer position is yet another area where the Phillies have some issues to address. So, add it to the list. And hope the Giants can’t hit Zach Eflin.