After yet another bullpen meltdown last night, the Phillies got trounced by the Braves 8-4 on Wednesday night. Things fell off the rails early as Ranger Suárez allowed four runs in the second inning. The Phils clawed back by scoring one in fourth and two in the fifth to tie things up. However, it got out of hand in the bottom of the frame when the Phillies committed the most embarrassing gaffe of the season.
After reaching first base on a single, Dansby Swanson attempted to steal second with one out. J.T. Realmuto’s throw was a bit high and clanked off second baseman Jean Segura’s glove. Shortstop Bryson Stott tried to make a diving stop of the errant throw, but it proved to be just out of reach. So far, it was just a regular old stolen base. Then, center fielder Odúbel Herrera charged the ball and looked up at the last second, allowing it to roll right past his glove. Swanson was able to come all the way around to score before Herrera had even corralled the ball. To be frank, it was pathetic.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. Realmuto threw it too high to get the runner out. But, the throw was catchable and Segura just missed it. Worst of all, Herrera made a bad situation worse and let a relatively benign stolen base turn into a run for the Braves. The only player involved that can possibly be exonerated is Stott, who made a decent effort and came up just short.
Did this play change the outcome of the game? Probably not. Austin Riley went on to homer in the next at bat, meaning Swanson would in all likelihood have scored anyway. And, the Braves tacked on two more after that while the Phillies bats went silent. Basically, they were going to lose anyway. What’s so infuriating about this play isn’t the effect it had on the game. It’s what it exemplifies for the Phillies. Too many times this year they’ve failed to get out of their own way. Whether it’s bullpen blow ups, sloppy defense or non-existent hitting, this team lets their opponents off the hook far too often. And tonight’s utterly embarrassing gaffe sums it up perfectly.