Nola, Phillies unable to solve Marlins' riddle

Philadelphia drops third straight series to last-place club

August 25th, 2019

MIAMI -- If only the Phillies could beat the Marlins like their National League East rivals.

Nobody inside the visitors’ clubhouse at Marlins Park could explain why the Phillies cannot beat the team with the worst record in the National League, but they lost their third consecutive series to Miami with Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 loss. The Phillies are 7-9 against the lowly Marlins. Meanwhile, the Braves (15-4), Nationals (10-3) and Mets (11-4) have pounded them. If the Phillies finish a few games out of the second National League Wild Card, they will look to their record against Miami as a big reason why.

“Very frustrating, yeah,” Phillies first baseman said. “You often hear, most of the time you’re playing against yourself, right? If we play our game, we obviously can beat any team; we swept the Cubs, we swept the Red Sox on the road. Yeah, it’s tough. This is just a different place to play here. Credit to those guys. They came up with some big hits in some big situations off Nols and they … I don’t really have much more to say.”

It is puzzling, especially following those recent sweeps of the Cubs and Red Sox.

“Sometimes you get unlucky, I guess,” Phillies second baseman said.

The Phillies managed just one hit through five innings against Marlins right-hander before Cesar Hernandez singled off the right-field wall with two outs in the sixth. Hernandez should have been on second base with a double, but he watched the ball sail toward the wall from the batter’s box instead. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said the matter will be handled internally.

Fortunately for Hernandez, Hoskins followed with a two-run home run to left field to hand the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

“Thank you,” Hernandez told Hoskins as he crossed home plate.

It was Hoskins’ 25th home run of the season and his first home run in 85 plate appearances. He had not homered since Aug. 3.

Is he hopeful the homer gets things rolling for him? He had hit .088 with a .452 OPS in 18 games between homers.

“The word hope -- I don’t like saying it,” Hoskins said. “Obviously I hope, sure, but no one ever said it’s going to be easy. I’m always going to have to work for it. Everyone in this room is always going to have to work for it. So I’ll take that swing -- it felt repeatable. That’s what it’s all about. Being able to repeat whether it’s on the mound, in the box or on the field.”

Phillies ace could not hold the Marlins, who overcame a 7-0 deficit to beat the Phillies on Friday night, 19-11. Nola was 6-2 with a 2.13 ERA in his last 12 starts, allowing two or fewer runs in nine of those starts. But he allowed a one-out double to and walked pinch-hitter to put runners on first and second. singled to score Holaday, and doubled to score Granderson and Berti to take the lead.

Nola threw 10 changeups and five curveballs out of 22 pitches in the sixth inning, a far higher percentage (68.2 percent) of offspeed pitches than his season average (53.2 percent).


“I didn’t really feel like I had my fastball early in the game,” Nola said. “I was kind of pulling it in the bullpen a little bit. Maybe trying to throw it too hard early in the game, so I kind of backed off it a little bit, but I feel like I found it a little bit more in the middle of the game. My changeup was working today. It was the only thing really working today.”

Maybe things start working back home. The Phillies open a three-game series Monday night against the Pirates, who are another struggling team.

“We remind them how good they are,” Kapler said. “How much they're capable of. How much confidence we have in them. Everybody in the clubhouse knows that it's all of our responsibilities to step up to the plate and be stronger and be better.”