For the second night in a row, the Phillies found themselves trailing 3-1 against the Miami Marlins late in the game. As it turns out, that isn’t always a sign that the Phillies are about to score seven runs in one inning and win the ball game.
Things started out on a sour note tonight when Bryce Harper misplayed a routine fly ball and allowed Adam Duvall to reach base. It didn’t lead to any runs, but it did help to drive up Zach Eflin’s pitch count early in the game.
The defensive miscues continued in the sixth inning when Alec Bohm missed two different plays at third base, meaning he single-handedly allowed the second run of the game to score.
On the bright side, the Phillies also made a couple of nice defensive plays tonight. In the bottom of the fifth, Rhys Hoskins made a great dive to rob Trevor Rogers of his first big league hit (Rogers ended up getting it in his next at-bat when he smacked a ball past a diving Bohm). Then, in the eighth inning, Ronald Torreyes made a terrific catch on a throw from Hoskins to get the lead runner out at second base. Hoskins’ decision to throw was a little questionable, but Torreyes made it work.
On the offensive side of things, there weren’t too many bright spots. The only run came on a solo shot from Andrew McCutchen in the seventh inning. Rhys Hoskins went 2-for-4, continuing to prove that his recent slump is over, and Ronald Torreyes went 2-for-3, which is just nice to see. Unfortunately, the rest of the lineup didn’t do much to help those guys out.
Zach Eflin, once again, pitched six very solid innings. He struck out six, walked no one, and the only real blemish on his line was a home run given up to Brian Anderson in the second inning. Eflin has now gone at least six innings in all nine of his starts this year, and he could have gone further if the defense hadn’t racked up his pitch count and Girardi hadn’t lifted him for a pinch hitter in the seventh. (Give us the universal DH now!)
After watching Eflin in yet another strong outing, I’m inclined to borrow a nickname that our own John Stolnis coined several years ago: the Human Metronome. Stolnis used the term to refer to Jered Eickhoff, but I think he might have picked the wrong starting pitcher acquired in a trade for one of the core members of the 2008 World Series squad.
After Eflin left the game, things got scary quickly when Brandon Kintzler loaded the bases with no outs. I know that Kintzler’s only 36 years old, but every time he takes the mound all I can see is an old man who’s in over his head. It feels like he just gets hit around in almost every outing.
Sam Coonrod came in to replace Kintzler, and, for the most part, got the Phillies out of the jam. Coonrod did allow one runner to score, but there wasn’t much that anyone on the Phillies could have done in that situation. Jazz Chisholm hit a tiny tapper towards third and Andrew Knapp did everything in his power to tag out Garrett Cooper, but Cooper was just out of reach (and perhaps out of the baseline?)
Sam Coonrod has gotten some flack this season for allowing several inherited runners to score, but I don’t think that’s really fair. For one thing, half of the inherited runners he has allowed to score were already on third base when he entered the game. Furthermore, even if all six of the inherited runners that he has allowed to score were attributed to his own line, Coonrod would still have a perfectly respectable 3.78 ERA. (I’m not trying to be a big Coonrod defender here or anything, but I just don’t think the inherited runs he’s allowed are a huge problem.)
Anyway, let’s finish up here. The Phillies put up a bit of a fight in the bottom of the ninth, when Jean Segura doubled to lead off the inning and Rhys Hoskins reached on an infield single. With two outs, Andrew Knapp hit a long fly ball that was just a few feet away from being a walk-off home run and mere inches away from being a game-tying double, but sadly it landed right in the glove of Marlins center fielder Magneuris Sierra instead.
Tomorrow, Vince Velasquez will take the mound against the Miami's number one starter Sandy Alcantara in the rubber match of the series. All we can do is hope that the Phillies come away victorious and don’t drop another series to the Marlins.