Joe Girardi did not want to blame it all on the defense, even though he acknowledged that an eighth-inning grounder hit to third baseman Brad Miller should have been the start of a 5-4-3 double play that would have left the Miami Marlins in a two-out situation with no one on base.
Instead, Miller bounced the throw to second baseman Jean Segura, and the Phillies were only able to get one out on the play. Disaster followed as the Marlins turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 victory after Sam Coonrod issued a two-out walk and John Berti won an eight-pitch battle by sending a two-run single into right field. The Marlins tacked on another run before the inning was over, and the Phillies went quietly in the ninth against Miami closer Yimi Garcia.
“We can turn that double play and we didn’t and it’s frustrating,” Girardi said. “Part of it, too, is when you score so few runs your room for error is so little.”
Bad defense, an unwanted trademark of the 2021 Phillies, did once again play a role in another loss, but Girardi was right to point out that a lackluster offense was equally to blame. The Phillies managed just five hits and went hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Phillies slipped to 2-4 against the Marlins this season and have hit .209 against Miami pitching while averaging just 3.2 runs per game. They are 5-11 in their last 16 games at loanDepot Park.
The latest loss pushed the Phillies into fourth place in the NL East. They only trail the first-place New York Mets by two games, but they only lead the last-place Washington Nationals by one game.
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Aaron Nola ready to flush the month of May
Aaron Nola made his final start in May Wednesday night. For that, and his good health, he was grateful.
“This month hasn’t been too great for me, but I’m healthy,” Nola said after the Phillies lost for the fourth straight time with their opening-day starter on the mound.
Nola’s pitching line looked fine against the Marlins. He went six innings and allowed one run on two hits, lowering his ERA from 3.94 to 3.72. But he knew he was still not at his best.
“I got off to a good start,” Nola said. “But with two outs I started letting guys get on base. I’d get the first two outs and then I’d go Ball 1, Ball 2. I walked three guys tonight and hit one guy. That’s four free baserunners. And, yeah, it’s a grind when I do that.”
The Phillies were 4-1 and Nola had a 2.84 ERA through his first five starts this season. In his last six starts, however, the Phillies have gone 1-5 and Nola has posted a 4.54 ERA. His start Wednesday might have been a step in the right direction, but it was by no means Nola at his best.
“I had a few walks and I was kind of all over the place, but I battled the best as I could, especially when guys were on base to get that third out,” Nola said. “I just have to keep on grinding out there and competing. Flush this one and get ready for the next one.”
The scheduled next one for Nola is Tuesday against the Reds in Cincinnati, when the calendar will have flipped from May to June. That may seem trivial, but when you’re trying to get things turned around you look for every possible edge.
“Shoot, yeah,” Nola said. “I want to put May behind me for sure. June is a new month and I want to do all I can to pitch deep into games and give us a good chance to win.”
The Phillies still have four games left to play in May, including Thursday afternoon’s series finale in Miami.
The defense let down the Phils once again in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to Miami, Scott Lauber reports.
Luke Williams has hit .352 at triple-A Lehigh Valley in 71 at-bats this season while logging time at all three outfield positions as well as second base, shortstop and third base. His play has caught the attention of Phillies manager Joe Girardi.
The draft is still seven weeks away, but the Phillies will likely have a shot to select Malvern Prep center fielder Lonnie White Jr., who, in turn, will likely have to decide if he wants to play professional baseball or college football and baseball at Penn State.
Today: Spencer Howard opposes Pablo Lopez in series finale with the Marlins, 12:10 p.m.
Tomorrow: A rare Friday off day.
Saturday: Zack Wheeler pitches series opener at Tampa Bay, 1:10 p.m.
Sunday: Zach Eflin faces Rays, 1:10 p.m.
Monday: Vince Velasquez pitches Memorial Day game in Cincinnati, 2:10 p.m.
Stat of the day
Roman Quinn, who came off the injured list Tuesday after missing 18 games, got the start in right field Wednesday night and had his first multi-hit game of the season. Since starting the season 1 for 25, Quinn has heated up a little bit. In his last 11 games, he has batted .292 (7 for 24) with a .400 on-base percentage while also lining two doubles and two triples.
From the mailbag
Send questions by email or on Twitter @brookob.
Question: Sixto Sánchez is on the IL with the Miami Marlins and hasn’t thrown a pitch at all this season. Whatever happened to Will Stewart, the other young pitcher whom the Marlins received in exchange for J.T. Realmuto? The Phils refused to give up Spencer Howard in the deal.
— Roger S., via email
Answer: Thanks for the question Roger and for being such a loyal reader. After sitting out last season because of COVID-19, the 23-year-old Stewart opened this season with Miami’s double-A affiliate in Pensacola, Fla. Stewart, a 6-foot-1 lefty, is 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA in three starts. He has allowed five earned runs on 14 hits in 14 innings. He has 12 strikeouts, six walks and has hit four batters. Sánchez, trying to return from a shoulder injury, was scheduled to throw off a mound this week, but the Marlins have not put a timetable on his return.