MIAMI -- Jacob Arrieta knows better than anybody that the Phillies need to take advantage of opportunities like this.
He helped the Cubs turn a corner in 2015, when they made a 24-win improvement in the standings to make the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Cubs played five National League teams that season that lost 90 or more games. They went 39-19 (.672) against them. They went 58-46 (.558) against everybody else.
The Cubs beat up the bad teams on their way to the NL Wild Card. The Phillies must beat teams like the Marlins if they expect to do the same. But Arrieta struggled and the offense could not come up with a big hit late in Monday night's 8-4 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park. The Phillies are 2-2 against a Marlins team on pace to lose more than 100 games.
They play them 15 more times this year.
"You're right about that," Arrieta said. "And that's no disrespect to them. But if we intend to take the next step, claim a berth to the postseason, these are teams we need to beat. Having said that, there's times where you run into teams like this that are swinging the bats well, that are throwing the ball well. They can do the same thing to you.
"That's why this game's so great. In basketball, you give the ball to the best player and chances are that team wins. This game is a different story. You need a collective effort from a lot of guys to win the ballgame. I didn't do my part today."
Arrieta suffered his worst start with the Phillies, allowing eight hits, six runs and two walks in just 3 2/3 innings. He struck out two. Arrieta entered the game with the second-lowest hard-hit rate (23.19 percent) in baseball, according to Statcast™. The Marlins hit him hard Monday.
"You have like one or two of those a year where you feel like you're trying to find your way through it from the get-go," Arrieta said. "Everything was pretty normal going in. I felt good physically. Just timing, I was a tick late or a tick early and couldn't find a middle ground. And then when I did it seems like everything I threw in the zone got hit with guys on base."
"Jake just didn't have his best weapons today," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.
The Phillies had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh, but did not score. Brian Anderson made a diving catch on a ball in left-center field for the second out. Cesar Hernandez should have tagged up from third and scored on the play, but he was halfway down the line instead. It would have cut Miami's lead to one.
"I know I should have done better," Hernandez said through the team's interpreter.
"I didn't think the guy on third was going to be there," Anderson said. "I figured he'd be tagging and scoring."
The Phillies turn to Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. They must win both or lose the series to a team that traded its best talent in the offseason.
"Those are good Major League players with the capability of beating your [butt] and you just cannot take it easy on anybody -- not that we ever would," Kapler said. "It's the last thing we would ever do. However, any team can beat any other team on any given day. They're that talented."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco hit a two-run home run to left field in the fourth inning, cutting the Marlins' lead to 5-4. Franco hit .220 with two home runs, 17 RBIs and a .701 OPS in his first 14 games. He is hitting .345 with two home runs, five RBIs and a .907 OPS in his last nine games.
"He made some real impressive swing adjustments," Kapler said. "He was in there banging in the cage earlier today and took a good adjustment on how to get the ball in the air a little more out on the field. He had a tremendous batting practice, was able to carry it over into the game and really drive the ball tonight."
Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera singled to right-center field in the first inning. He has reached base safely in 30 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in baseball. It is the Phillies' longest streak since Darin Ruf reached base safely in 33 consecutive games (Sept. 5, 2012 - Aug. 6, 2013).
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS: Jorge Alfaro's two-run homer in the second inning left his bat at 108.5 mph. He does not hit cheap ones. His eight career homers have an average exit velocity of 108.9 mph, according to Statcast™.
Only four batters have higher average exit velocities on home runs since the beginning of last season (minimum five home runs): the Yankees' Christopher Austin (110.1 mph), Aaron Judge (110.0 mph), Giancarlo Stanton (109.7 mph) and the Padres' Franchy Cordero (109.5 mph).
HE SAID IT
"It's a play that Cesar can read better, there's no question about it. Cesar knows it. It's a ball that you know that if he lays out for, you can tag and score. If it drops, you can tag and score. This is something that he's aware of and will continue to address and work on with all of our baserunners." -- Kapler, on Hernandez not tagging from third base in the seventh
Phillies right-hander Eflin makes his 2018 debut in Tuesday night's game against the Marlins at Marlins Park. He replaces Ben Lively, who the Phillies placed on the 10-day disabled list last week with a strained lower back. Eflin has a 5.85 ERA in 22 career starts.