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Sell!! Marlins 10, Phillies 5

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The Phillies ended the unofficial first half of the season with a dismal performance

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the Phillies have been engaged in trade talks with the Baltimore Orioles regarding star infielder Manny Machado. According to one baseball writer who opted to use a very clunky football metaphor, a trade could happen at any moment:

Although the Phillies will enter the All-Star in first place, their performance in the series against the Miami Marlins - and particularly in Sunday’s 10-5 loss - could be enough to cause management to question whether the team should really go all in on a playoff push this season.

The game started off much like the first two games in the series: With the Phillies struggling to score runs. Matched against some less-than-imposing pitchers, the Phillies only managed two runs on Friday night, which was sadly, two more runs than they could muster on Saturday. When the Phillies were held scoreless through the first three innings, it was reasonable for fans to question if the team would ever score another run.

In the fourth inning, those fans received a measure of reassurance that the Phillies would not be shut out forevermore, when Maikel Franco singled home the first run of the game.

That small taste of offense apparently reminded the Phillies hitters that scoring runs is a good thing for a team to do, and they went on to score four more runs in the inning. The big blow was delivered by Cesar Hernandez:

With a five-run lead against the worst team in the National League, Sunday’s game should have been an easy victory that gave them positive momentum heading into the All-Star break.

That’s not quite how it played out. Instead of a feel-good victory, the Phillies instead gave us an inning that will go down as one of the worst in team history. If you’ve ever listened to The Dirty Inning podcast (and you certainly should!) you’ll know that the Phillies have been no strangers to awful innings over the years. What unfurled in the bottom of the fifth inning rivaled any of those innings in its dreadfulness.

Starting pitcher Enyel De Los Santos had kept the Marlins off the board to that point, so when he retired the first batter, it looked like he was in line to earn a win. And then all of a sudden, he wasn’t.

Cameron Maybin started the scoring with a solo home run. The Marlins followed that with two singles and another home run to Brian Anderson. All of a sudden, it was a one-run game. Manager Gabe Kapler tried to let De Los Santos finish off the inning, but when he hit the next batter, his day was over.

Edubray Ramos entered the game, and after allowing a single to Starlin Castro, it looked like he might have escaped the inning with the lead still intact. He coerced JT Riddle into hitting a ground ball to Carlos Santana. It looked like it could have been a double play ball. It wasn’t.

Forced to continue the inning, Ramos walked a batter (on a VERY close full count pitch) and then gave up two more hits to make it a 6-5 game. Exit Ramos, enter Adam Morgan who allowed two more runners to score before finally recording the final out and mercifully putting the carnage to an end.

The Phillies hitters had apparently already started their vacations, and failed to respond in a positive manner. When a couple of relievers allowed two runs in the eighth, all it accomplished was worsening the team’s run differential.

We shouldn’t let an awful finish tarnish what was an exceptional first half. If the Phillies have a chance to obtain a difference-maker like Machado, they certainly shouldn’t allow Sunday’s game to change their opinion. But if they play a few more like that? Maybe it’s time to question just how aggressive they should be at the trade deadline.