Every loss in September is magnified for a team that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2011.
The Philadelphia Phillies allowed two runs in the ninth inning on Thursday and fell 6-5 to the Miami Marlins. The Phillies still won two of three in the series but dropped to the third spot in the National League wild-card chase.
Philadelphia (75-62) is set to open a three-game series against the visiting Washington Nationals (49-89) on Friday.
“They’re all frustrating,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said of the latest loss. “We won the series. It would have been nice to sweep. We have to keep moving forward.”
Bryson Stott and Rhys Hoskins each had three hits for the Phillies, but Hoskins’ key fielding error in the ninth led to the tying run and ultimately the loss.
David Robertson continued his inconsistent performances by allowing the go-ahead RBI single to Brian Anderson in the ninth. Closer Seranthony Dominguez (right triceps) made a rehab appearance Thursday at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, pitching one scoreless inning.
Jose Alvarado, Andrew Bellatti and Connor Brogdon all were unavailable, so Robertson was given another chance. It didn’t go well as he endured his seventh blown save this season, including his time with both the Chicago Cubs and the Phillies.
“He’s maybe a little bit tired,” Thomson said.
“Made some good pitches, had some bad luck,” Robertson added.
The Phillies still finished the night 2 1/2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the final NL wild card.
On Friday, Noah Syndergaard (8-9, 4.07 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Phillies. Syndergaard, 30, struggled in his latest outing as he gave up seven hits and four runs (three earned) in 4 1/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
Syndergaard is 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 18 career starts against the Nationals.
Victor Robles was scratched due to neck stiffness before the Nationals posted an 11-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.
Alex Call received the start instead and came through with four hits, including a three-run homer in the ninth, and five RBIs.
“Guys are stingy with throwing balls down the middle here — there’s no doubt about that — but they still throw them,” Call said. “They still throw pitches that you can hit, so just being able to adjust and being ready for it no matter what, that’s the key.”
The Nationals continue to battle, no matter the circumstances.
In a season filled with maddening losses, the trade of franchise player Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres and a litany of injuries, the Nationals keep playing hard.
Cesar Hernandez added three hits and three RBIs as Washington compiled 18 hits on Thursday.
“I can’t say enough (about) how they play,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “I always say these guys will always play hard for 27 outs. Today’s the perfect example.”
On Friday, the Nationals will hand the ball to Patrick Corbin (6-17, 6.28 ERA). Corbin, who leads the majors in losses, was stellar in his last start against the New York Mets, allowing three hits and one run in seven innings on Saturday.
“I think getting away from going out there every fifth day for a start (to) just kind of relax or just get a little time to think about some things was the biggest thing,” Corbin said after that outing. “Feeling good and just looking forward to the rest of my starts.”
Corbin is 6-7 with a 4.42 ERA in 17 career starts against the Phillies, 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA in two starts vs. Philadelphia this year.
–Field Level Media