I’m working on the assumption that most of the people who read this site are not just fans of Philadelphia’s baseball team, but cheer for the city’s football team as well. For those of you who fit this description, I have good news for you (which I’m sure you already know): The Eagles begin their season tomorrow night, and for the first time in history, they do so as the defending Super Bowl champions!
The Phillies will be off on Thursday, so they won’t have a chance to depress you further. Instead, you’ll be able to devote your full attention to the fate of your beloved Birds. (And for those of you who’d like to read my definitive preview of the game, you can do so here.)
For those of you who do not care about football, or perhaps root for other teams, tomorrow’s football game will likely not prove much consolation as the Phillies’ postseason chances continue to slip away. They lost a very winnable game - and as a result, the series - to the last place Miami Marlins on Wednesday night. They did so on a day when the first place Atlanta Braves coughed up a massive lead to the Red Sox, meaning the Phillies squandered an excellent opportunity to make up ground in the National League East.
After a rare strong offensive performance on Tuesday, it seemed like it might be a good idea to bring back the same lineup for the following game. Instead, Gabe Kapler continued to mix things up, and the Phillies offense reverted to low-scoring form. They struggled to do much of anything against Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara. Alcantara pitched 7.1 shutout innings, only allowing three hits while striking out six. As Tom McCarthy put it at one point: “The Phillies aren’t making a lot of hard contact.”
It's the future we can see.— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 6, 2018
A GEM from Sandy tonight. pic.twitter.com/gdat2v23IX
The Phillies also seemed determined to sabotage their chances. In three separate innings, they got the leadoff hitter on base, only to have the next batter hit into a double play. This was especially costly in the eighth, when Roman Quinn was doubled up on a line drive. The subsequent double by Jose Bautista and single by Asdrubal Cabrera only scored one run instead of tying the game.
Not that it mattered, but starting pitcher Nick Pivetta had an encouraging outing. He only gave up two runs - and one might have been avoided with better infield defense - before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the sixth inning.
The Phillies did show some life in the ninth inning when they got two runners aboard against Marlins closer Drew Steckenrider. But somehow, despite expanded rosters, the Phillies’ best option for a pinch hitter in this climactic situation was Pedro Florimon.
Steckenrider tried to blow the game, racking up a three ball count before throwing fastball after fastball down the middle. However, all Florimon could manage to do was foul them off before striking out on what looked like ball four. Quinn followed that with a strikeout of his own, and the Phillies had sealed their ninth straight series without a win.
As mentioned, the Phillies are off on Thursday before heading to New York for a series against the Mets. And there’s nothing like a series against the Mets to cure what ails the Phillies, right?