Prior to Thursday night, the Phillies were 3-1 in games that Sandy Alcantara started against them. They had an excellent chance to go 4-1, as they held a one-run lead in the ninth inning. But as the team waits for the return of ace reliever Seranthony Dominguez, they got another poor outing from acting closer David Robertson. Robertson’s pitching - along with a critical error by Rhys Hoskins - allowed the Marlins to overcome the deficit and earn a 6-5 win.
The Phillies problems weren’t limited to the ninth inning, as a few of their players had bad games. The last time he was matched against Alcantara, Kyle Gibson pitched very well, but this wasn’t a particularly good start. He gave up four runs in five innings, mostly due to two home runs allowed. Bryce Harper also seems off as he was 0-4 with three strikeouts and appears to be unable to hit a high fastball at the moment.
On the other hand, some Phillies did have good nights. After a couple of nights of watching Edmundo Sosa’s heroics, Bryson Stott returned to the lineup with three hits. And another member of the “daycare” got the Phillies’ scoring started with a home run in the third.
Nick Maton with an absolute CANNON pic.twitter.com/vc3VBQSadU— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) September 8, 2022
The Phillies wouldn’t have even had a lead if it wasn’t for Marlins centerfielder J.J. Bleday. Bleday dropped a routine fly ball that would have been the third out of the fifth inning. Rhys Hoskins followed with a single (one of his three hits; he had a good night at the plate at least) and then Alec Bohm came through with a two-run triple.
WE STAN ALEC BOHM. pic.twitter.com/UTVYSdXBDU— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) September 9, 2022
The Phillies’ bullpen held that lead until the ninth when Robertson entered the game. Robertson looked like his arm was shot in his last outing, and apparently one day off wasn’t enough to fix it. I realize that until Dominguez returns, options are limited, but I would have much preferred to see Jose Alvarado used here. Yes, Alvarado pitched the last two nights, but unlike Robertson, his arm doesn’t appear to be dead.
Garrett Cooper greeted him with a double, and then scored when Hoskins committed an error on what should have been a routine ground ball. It looked like Robertson had the next batter struck out, but the umpire ruled he checked his swing. At that point, it felt inevitable when Brian Anderson followed with an RBI single to give the Marlins the lead. The fact that Robertson suddenly found his groove and struck out the next three batters was not much consolation.
Taking two out of three against the Marlins is fine in theory, except the Brewers have been winning games and cutting into the Phillies’ lead in the wild card standings. If the Phillies want to hold them off, they’ll need to stop blowing winnable games. That will seem far more realistic if Dominguez is able to return sooner rather than later.