As Stott stays hot, baserunning miscues and pitching doom Phils

April 12th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- continued his blistering hot start to the 2023 season on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park -- but unfortunately for the Phillies, two other less favorable trends also persisted in the club's 8-4 loss to the Marlins.

Opening Day starter looked like he was on his way to his best start of the young season before hitting a wall in the sixth inning. Stott, meanwhile, came through with another multihit performance, including a clutch two-out bases-loaded single in the sixth -- but that same play ended with Stott becoming yet another Phillie to be thrown out on the basepaths.

Here's a look at three early-season themes that were front and center once again on Tuesday:

Nola struggles late
Nola walked off the mound after the top of the fifth inning having just perfectly spotted a fastball for a called third strike against Jazz Chisholm Jr.

It was Nola's fifth strikeout of the night and he had allowed only one run. More importantly, perhaps, it was just his 68th pitch.

After inducing a Garrett Cooper groundout to open the sixth, however, things quickly unraveled for Nola. It started with Luis Arraez -- who hit for the first cycle in Marlins history -- roping a triple into the right-field corner.

Arraez's three-bagger kicked off a stretch in which five of the next six Marlins batters recorded a hit, capped by Nick Fortes' RBI single on Nola's 32nd pitch of the inning -- and his 100th and final pitch of the game.

“Frustrating,” said Nola, who has a 7.04 ERA through three starts. “I didn’t make pitches when I needed to with two strikes. I felt like I was one pitch away, but I just kept missing a little bit and they kept getting hits -- and it spiraled.”

Through 11 games, Philadelphia's starters have gone six innings just once (Nola last Wednesday) and recorded only one win (Matt Strahm on Monday). The club is 2-0 when Strahm starts, but just 2-7 with Nola, Zack Wheeler, Bailey Falter or Taijuan Walker on the mound.

“We’ll deliver,” Nola said. “It’s a long season. We’ve got a lot of starts left and a lot of baseball left. If we stay healthy, we’ll get it done.”

Stott keeps hitting
One night after Stott made his leadoff debut in Monday’s 15-3 rout, he was back in the No. 8 spot against tough Miami left-hander Jesús Luzardo.

But not even Luzardo could slow down Stott, who turned in his eighth multi-hit game of the season (tied with Arraez for the most in MLB). Stott roped a 98.8 mph single off Luzardo in the fifth, then -- with the Phils trailing by three runs one inning later -- he added a 98.9 mph single off Luzardo in a crucial two-out bases-loaded situation.

“He just continues to do well and have good at-bats,” manager Rob Thomson said. “He’ll be leading off [Wednesday]. We’ll have to figure it out moving forward, but he’ll be in the leadoff spot [Wednesday].”

Baserunning miscues
Though Stott’s two-run single sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy, the Philadelphia faithful fell quiet just as quickly when former Phillie Jean Segura cut off the throw from left field and threw behind Stott, who couldn’t scramble back to first base in time to avoid the rally-ending out.

Instead of having runners at the corners in a one-run game, the inning came to an abrupt end. Miami wasted no time adding an insurance run in the seventh and three more in the eighth.

“It was just a good play by Jean to come through and throw back across,” Stott said. “And it’s just not a very good play by myself.”

It marked the eighth time this season the Phillies have made an out on the basepaths, most in Major League Baseball. They made only 36 outs on the bases last season, fewest in the big leagues. Albeit an incredibly small sample size, the eight baserunning outs in 11 games puts Philadelphia on pace for 117 this season.

“You’ve got to control your emotions and try not to do too much,” Thomson said. “We’ll clean that up.”

Stott put it in simpler terms.

“Aggressive, but not stupid,” Stott said. “There’s a fine line between that, and a couple of things have been not very smart.”