Little League Phillies Drop Third Straight

The Phillies just keep shooting themselves in the foot. There’s no other way to put it. They haven’t hit with men on, they haven’t been hitting for power, and they haven’t even fielded the ball cleanly. In all honesty, we haven’t been watching a major league team the past three days; the Phillies have been a Little League squad.

The top of the first started well Tuesday night in San Francisco, as Bryson Stott worked a nine-pitch walk, and Trea Turner singled to put two on with no one out. Bryce Harper, indisputably the best player on the team, then rolled one over to short for an easy double play. Nick Castellanos flew out to right, and the Phillies’ threat was over.

The Phils put together another opportunity in the second, as a double from J.T. Realmuto, and walks from Brandon Marsh and Kody Clemens loaded the bases with two outs. As has been the case repeatedly this week, Phillies hitters failed to show up with runners in scoring position, and Bryson Stott lined out to left to end the inning without a run scoring. They put another two on in the third, and failed to score. Same thing in the seventh. In total, the Phillies left 12 men on base, and went a woeful 1-11 with runners in scoring position. That is wholly unacceptable.

To compound matters, the Phillies’ horrifying defensive play reared its ugly head once again in the bottom of the fourth. Giants catcher Joey Bart, who has a .568 OPS on the year, came to the plate with two outs and a man on first. He popped up a 2-2 fastball from Zack Wheeler behind the first base bag. It was a tough play, as Clemens had to fight the setting sun while ranging backwards to make the catch. A tough play, but one a major leaguer needs to make. 

Unfortunately, Clemens never got a bead on it and the ball landed a few yards to his left. Bryson Stott caught sight of it for a moment towards the end, sprinting over and barely missing it on a dive. Unfortunately again, the ball kicked off of Stott and rolled into foul territory, allowing the runner from first to score and give the Giants the lead. Even worse, LaMonte Wade Jr. Then roped a single into left, and Bart just barely beat the tag at home to double the Giants’ lead. Yet again, an opponent capitalized on sloppy play from the Phillies.

The Phillies were able to put up three runs, one on an RBI single from Stott in the fourth (breaking an 0-27 streak with runners in scoring position), another on a balk from Giants starter Alex Cobb in the same frame, and a solo blast from Kyle Schwarber in the ninth. However, it just wasn’t enough, as the Little League Phillies’ mistakes and missed opportunities early on in the game put them in a hole they just couldn’t climb their way out of.

Besides us fans, the real victim here is Zack Wheeler, who pitched a hell of a game and did not deserve to be saddled with four earned runs. In total, Wheeler went 6.0 innings, surrendering four runs on nine hits (mostly dinks and dunks that found grass) and one walk, while fanning eight. It was yet another tremendous performance from the Phillies’ ace that the team squandered with shoddy play behind him.

The Phillies have been maddening to say the least this season. They lost six in a row two weeks ago, then charged back with five straight wins, and are now on another three-game losing streak. The infuriating inconsistency of this team is due mostly to stupid mistakes and shoddy defense, with a dash of failing to hit with men on sprinkled in for flavor. This Phillies team is still good. This team will still compete for a playoff spot, and ultimately a World Series title. But, if they want to get serious about it, they need to look more like the major league players they are, and not the Little League players they have been.

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