NEW YORK — For a while, it looked like the Phillies were on their way to the kind of win that they desperately needed. While trailing 7-0 to the Mets in the bottom of the sixth, they scored six runs, thanks in part to a three-run home run from eight-hole hitter Garrett Stubbs. A come-from-behind win on Friday would have sent a message to their division rivals that no, the Phillies are not the only team in the NL East that can blow a significant lead. Or, perhaps, that no, that the Mets are not the only team in the NL East that can rattle off five, six, or seven runs with ease.
But the sixth inning turned out to be an aberration. The Mets replaced Chasen Shreve with Drew Smith, who allowed just one walk in the top of the seventh. In the top of the eighth, Joely Rodriguez allowed a walk and a double, but then manager Buck Showalter replaced him with Seth Lugo, who induced a pop out from J.T. Realmuto to end the inning. In the top of the ninth, they faced Edwin Diaz, who allowed just a single to Alec Bohm and struck out the other batters he faced. The Phillies lost, 8-6.
The Phillies needed a win, but it would have been an ugly win. They looked sloppy defensively from the first play of the game, a routine grounder to shortstop that Bryson Stott overthrew to first base, earning him a throwing error.
Their second error came in the bottom of the fourth, when Stubbs saw Starling Marte trying to steal second base, and gunned it to Jean Segura. He missed his throw, and Marte advanced to third.
Compounding the defensive chaos was Nick Castellanos, who fielded a series of plays that made fans even more eager to see Bryce Harper in the outfield again. In the bottom of the first, and with a runner on third, Eduardo Escobar hit a fly ball to Castellanos. Castellanos’ throw to home was wide, forcing Stubbs to leave the plate to catch it. Another run scored. The Mets scored three runs in the first inning alone, all of them unearned.
By the end of the night, the Phillies were left with not an ugly win, but an ugly loss, a 21-25 record, and a wider gap between themselves and their division rivals.
“I don’t have the answer,” Castellanos said. “I know that everyone in here is putting in the work. It’s just not panning out. It’s an (expletive) feeling. There’s no way around it.”
Bailey Falter falters
The Phillies called up left-handed pitcher Bailey Falter on Friday night to give the other starting pitchers an extra day of rest. Falter did not have the most economical outing. He lasted only three innings, throwing 82 pitches and allowing four hits, five runs, two earned runs, three walks, one home run and hit one batter. Manager Joe Girardi had to reach into his already-taxed bullpen earlier than he usually does, relying on four relievers to get through the last five innings of the game.
Girardi said afterwards that he didn’t regret going with Falter for the start on Friday night. He felt it was more the defense that cost the Phillies than their starting pitching.
“You look at that inning, and he probably doesn’t give up a run in the first inning (if not for the defense),” Girardi said. “It led to extra pitches, and who knows. I mean you can’t say what happens if (Stott) makes the first play. You can’t say what’s going to happen. But I thought he was throwing the ball pretty well, and then he got into, what, 32 pitches after that first inning. And had somewhat of a longer second inning, and he gave up the two-run home run. But our defense hurt us.”
Garrett Stubbs power surge
Stubbs is not the most physically imposing of catchers, but he has been on a power kick lately. He hit his first career home run May 22 against the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park, and his second on Friday in Citi Field, a shot to right field that traveled 382 feet. Friday marked his first career multi-RBI game. He’s now hit safely in eight of 11 games played this season.