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Blown leads? Yeah, I’ve got a few: Marlins 9, Phillies 8

How many times can a team lose one game?

Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins
Jesus Sanchez and the Marlins kept coming back
Photo by Sam Navarro/Getty Images

In Wednesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins, the Phillies had a 5-0 lead in the sixth inning. They still had a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. They later had a 7-5 lead heading into the bottom of the tenth, and an 8-7 lead heading into the bottom of the eleventh. But when the twelfth inning - and the game - ended, the Phillies found themselves on the wrong end of a 9-8 decision.

There were a lot of goats in this one, but none loom larger than Trea Turner. This deep into a nightmarish season, you wouldn’t think that he would be able to have his worst game so far, but I think he somehow lowered that already low-set bar.

He went 0-5 at the plate (0-3 with runners in scoring position) including a strikeout and a double play. But all of that could have been overlooked had he been able to make a play on what would have been the final out of the game in the eleventh.

It was a tough play, but it’s one that a major league shortstop needs to make. Had he just kept the ball in the infield, the Phillies still probably win the game.

Then again, the game should have never even reached that point. The Phillies, thanks in part to wildness on the part of Marlins pitching, and clutch hitting by Alec Bohm, got off to a 5-0 lead. As the announcers insisted on telling us, with Zack Wheeler on the mound, that should have led to an easy win.

But the Phillies’ offense went quiet after that, and Wheeler let the Marlins back into the game when he surrendered back-to-back home runs to Josh Bell and Jazz Chisholm.

Wheeler turned it over to the bullpen in the seventh, and while Matt Strahm’s first inning of work went okay, his second did not. A single and a walk put two runners aboard and prompted the arrival of Jeff Hoffman. Hoffman has been solid this season but had some issues throwing strikes on Wednesday. Two more walks and an RBI groundout and the Marlins had pulled within one run.

In the ninth, Rob Thomson curiously called upon Gregory Soto, and not Craig Kimbrel to earn the save. Soto failed at this job.

After Brandon Marsh’s home run gave the Phillies a two-run lead in the tenth (David Robertson’s Marlins career is not off to a good start), Kimbrel was finally called upon. Unfortunately, he seemed to be tipping his pitches or something, and the Marlins were able to tie the game up once again.

An RBI by Alec Bohm gave the Phillies yet another lead in the eleventh. With only Dylan Covey left to pitch, the situation seemed tenuous. But Covey got two quick outs and then induced the aforementioned ground ball to shortstop that was not fielded by Turner.

The Phillies went down meekly in the twelfth, and when Covey was asked to pitch a second inning with the winning run starting at second, well, we knew it wasn’t ending well.

The Phillies should be going for a sweep when the series concludes on Thursday afternoon. Then again, if the Marlins could have protected a late lead on Tuesday night, they would be on a two-game winning streak. In the end, “coulds” and “woulds” don’t mean much when you have a bullpen that can’t hold a lead and a “star” shortstop that can’t seem to do much of anything right.