Coming to a Phillies game this weekend? No masks will be required. The Phillies said Wednesday that they will follow the city’s decision to no longer require masks outdoors starting Friday. The team said they recommend unvaccinated fans wear masks, but they will not require them to do so. The ballpark’s capacity will also increase Friday by 5,000 fans to 16,000 before opening at full capacity on June 12 against the Yankees.
The Phillies came a few feet from a win on Wednesday night. Instead, they had to settle for their fourth loss in six games when Andrew Knapp’s fly ball was caught against the wall. They can still win the series on Thursday night, which would be their first meaningful series win over the Marlins since April 2019.
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Another baserunning call goes against the Phils
The Phillies lost Wednesday night by two runs, so the run the Marlins tacked on in the seventh inning did not decide the game. But Garrett Cooper’s move to avoid Andrew Knapp at home plate did seem to sway the momentum, as the Phillies could have left the bases loaded.
And for the second time in three weeks, the Phillies thought they were hosed.
The umpires ruled that Cooper did not leave the base path when he sprinted home from third on a soft grounder by Jazz Chisholm. Knapp fielded the grounder — which traveled just two feet — and tried to tag Cooper, but the runner avoided the tag.
“I actually thought he ran out of the base paths,” Girardi said.
The umpires, who met with Girardi, disagreed.
“He said he was avoiding running into the guy making the play,” Girardi said. “I disagree. I thought Knappy had the ball before he got to him. I would have to see it. I could be wrong there. But I think he was running out of the baseline to avoid the tag.”
The play is a judgment call, which means it is not allowed to be reviewed by video replay. A base runner is allowed to move three feet to his right or left to avoid a tag.
The umpires met on the field and upheld the decision of home-plate umpire Jeremie Rehak. The Phillies learned earlier this month that base running plays are non-reviewable when Andrew McCutchen was ruled to have left the base path despite running in a straight line from first base to second.
“It’s a judgment call that I think is frustrating a lot of times for all of us,” Girardi said. “Some of them you’re on the right side. Some of them you’re on the wrong side. I would have to look at the play closer. But we seem to be 0 for 2 this year.”
The Marlins loaded the bases in the seventh on three-straight singles against Brandon Kintzler before Girardi inserted Sam Coonrod with no outs. It was a tough spot, but Coonrod induced weak contact against one of baseball’s young stars. Knapp seemed to have the tag placed before Cooper moved away.
“I don’t know if anybody knows the rule,” said Zach Eflin, who allowed two runs in six innings. “If you’re going to call something like that on Cutch a couple weeks ago, this was clear as day that he ran three feet out of the baseline that he established, especially if we’re basing it on what happened to Cutch a couple weeks ago. It’s frustrating. It sucks it’s not a reviewable play but it’s the game we play. Stuff is not going to go our way sometimes, but a big momentum play like that would definitely shift the momentum of the game if we got out of that with no runs. I thought he was out of the baseline, but I’m not an umpire.”
Coonrod retired the next three batters with ease, but the Phillies were down two runs instead of one. They lost two innings later when Knapp’s fly ball fell just short of being a three-run homer. But perhaps the final two innings play out differently if they leave the bases loaded in the seventh.
“I just thought it was pretty clear that he got out of the baseline and was running in the grass and it wasn’t called,” Eflin said. “It is what it is.”
The Phillies fell to 14-13 when their top three starters — Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin — pitch. The Phillies lost 3-1 against the Marlins in a tough-luck loss for Eflin.
Scott Lauber has the details of why the Phillies aren’t ready to give Chase Anderson’s rotation spot to Spencer Howard.
Reports of Andrew McCutchen’s demise were out there in April, but he considers them a compliment, even if they were greatly exaggerated, Bob Brookover writes.
Tonight: Vince Velasquez starts series finale vs. Miami’s Sandy Alcantara, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Aaron Nola opens a three-game series vs. Boston, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Chase Anderson starts Game 2 vs. the Red Sox, 7:15 p.m.
Sunday: Zack Wheeler starts the series finale, 1:05 p.m.
Monday: Phils open a four-game series in Miami, 6:40 p.m.
Stat of the day
Wednesday night was Zach Eflin’s fifth start this season of at least six innings without a walk. The only pitcher with more such starts is Gerrit Cole, who has done it six times for the Yankees. It was also Eflin’s sixth-straight quality start at Citizens Bank Park since Sept. 18, 2020. He has a 1.85 ERA with 39 strikeouts and just three walks in those six games. He has not allowed a walk in his last four starts at home.
From the mailbag
Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.
Question: When do tickets go on sale for the rest of the season? I’m ready to get back to the ballpark! — Bobby W. via email.
Answer: Thanks, Bobby. The Phillies announced last week that tickets for games after June 10 will go on sale on May 25. All games after June 10 will be played in front of a full-capacity ballpark. A limited number of seating pods will be available, the Phillies said, for fans who prefer to remain in a socially-distanced environment.