Generally, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler offers some sort of uplifting positivity-induced assessment of a Phillies loss. Friday night in Miami though, even he had to admit that the product his team put on the field was simply bad, embarrassing and “unacceptable.”
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia summed it up best:
For a while Friday night, the party rocked on and everyone was having a good ol’ time. Then, out of nowhere, the septic system backed up.
Salisbury went on to point out that there was nothing wrong with the bathrooms at Marlins Park. The problem was the bathroom quality play of the Phillies; primarily the pitching, defense and managing.
The performance the two were talking about was Friday night’s 19-11 loss to the Marlins that started with a 7-0 Phillies lead.
Coming off the high of a two-game sweep in Boston, the Phillies offense staked starter Vince Velasquez to a 7-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings. Then, it hit the fan in the bottom of the third. Velasquez gave up seven runs in the bottom of the third inning to blow the lead and find himself sitting on the dugout bench. The inning included five hits – four singles and a home run – and two hit batters prior to Juan Nicasio coming in to relieve Velasquez. Nicasio threw two pitches, giving up a base-hit to Jorge Alfaro and exited with right shoulder stiffness, opening the possibility that another reliever will wind up on the IL. Nick Pivetta came on and got a groundball double-play to end the inning.
While the Phillies were officially charged with just one error in the game, they could have – and should have – been charged with at least three others. Phillies color analyst Ben Davis questioned the official scorer’s decisions, asking “what is he smoking?”
The error that was charged was on Maikel Franco, who was recalled earlier in the day when Bryce Harper went on maternity leave, booted a ball in the fifth that loaded the bases. Two batters later, Neil Walker doubled to drive in two. In the inning, Pivetta allowed five runs, but only one was earned, thanks to the error.
The main managing blunder by Kapler came when he decided to leave Pivetta in to face Walker, a switch-hitter. Walker is known for hitting righties much better than lefties and Kapler had left-hander Ranger Suarez ready to go in the bullpen, but elected to stay with Pivetta.
When asked about leaving Pivetta in to face Walker, Kapler had a short answer for reporters: “We got him [Pivetta] out of the game at the right time and brought Ranger in at the correct time.”
Phillies pitching allowed 19 hits, four of which were home runs.
For his part, Velasquez called his performance “flat out embarrassing.”
The loss sank the Phillies to 66-61, 2 1/2 games out of the second wild-card spot in the National League and 10 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East.