PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said there is frustration, not concern, in the Phillies' clubhouse. He emphasized Saturday evening at Citizens Bank Park that those two feelings are two very different things.
The Brewers clobbered the Phillies on Saturday, 12-3. It was the Phillies' 10th loss in 13 games since they moved into first place in the National League East on May 26, a spot they occupied only a day. They have dropped five games in the standings in that stretch. They have been outscored, 68-39.
"There's no concern from me or our clubhouse," Kapler said. "I understand that there is outside concern, but that's what our job is. It's to stay the course. Frustration means like, 'Hey, we're looking at our performance, it's not going the way we want. Man, that's upsetting.'
"Concern means we're worried that we're not going to get ourselves out of this, which is not where we are. We are very confident in the talent in that room. We're very confident in the preparation of our work. There's zero doubt in my mind that we're going to weather this storm."
The Phillies looked to Jacob Arrieta to be a stopper Saturday, but he allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings. The start follows his strong comments following Sunday's loss in San Francisco, where he criticized the team's infield shifts and said the team needed "an accountability check."
The Phillies are 1-4 since.
"That's every start," Arrieta said, asked if he felt a personal responsibility to pitch well following Sunday's comments. "It doesn't matter if there is -- I'm pretty vocal behind closed doors. 90 percent of the time, regardless what happens, whatever is said or unsaid, I intend to win the game I start, so it doesn't matter what's said or anything like that."
The Phillies' carried a 3-2 lead into the sixth, thanks to Rhys Hoskins' three-run homer in the third inning. But the afternoon unraveled quickly from there.
Ryan Braun fouled an 0-2 sinker into the stands with one out, but he reached base because of catcher's interference. Arrieta walked Jonathan Villar on six pitches to put runners at first and second.
Kapler visited the mound to speak with Arrieta. He liked what he heard. Arrieta remained in the game to face Erik Kratz, but he plunked him with a 1-0 sinker to load the bases. Arrieta's day was finished.
Luis Garcia struck out Orlando Arcia swinging on an 0-2 pitch for the second out. He had pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi 0-2, too. But Garcia threw three consecutive splitters for balls. Now 3-2, Garcia threw a 99 mph fastball away. Choi connected for a grand slam to left field to hand the Brewers a 6-3 lead.
Adam Morgan allowed four runs in the seventh to turn the game into a rout.
"It was just one of those situations where I feel like things wouldn't have happened later in the game if I would have done my job," Arrieta said. "I'll wear that one today, that one's on me."
Arrieta said he agreed with Kapler's assessment. There is no concern in the Phillies' clubhouse.
"We're in a rut," he said. "I've been a part of teams, championship caliber teams that have lost [nine of 11] going into an All-Star break and coming back out of that winning [20 of 26 with the 2016 Cubs]. You're going to go through periods like that. This is just one for us that we have to battle through and continue to work and put the time in and trust that what we're doing is going to lead to success. I really believe it is, as the rest of the guys do."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Morgan had a 1.76 ERA in his first 22 appearances, but he has struggled this month. He allowed four runs in just 1/3 of an inning in the seventh to turn a three-run deficit into a rout. Morgan has a 37.80 ERA (seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings) in four appearances in June. He allowed a walk-off grand slam Wednesday to Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward at Wrigley Field.
"I don't think that there's any one thing to pinpoint," Kapler said. "It's really interesting. If you go back and think about the Heyward at-bat, nine times out of 10 I'm betting on that pitch beating Heyward. It didn't go his way. Probably could say the same thing about a couple of pitches today. I need to go back and look at them and get a clearer picture of that, but at this point, that's how I look at it."
Jorge Alfaro's catcher's interference with one out in the sixth inning put Braun on first base, ultimately leading to Choi's grand slam. It was Alfaro's sixth error of the season, tying him with Phillies teammate Andrew Knapp and the Cubs' Willson Contreras for the most errors by a catcher in baseball. Three of Knapp's six errors are interference errors. It was Alfaro's first. The four catcher's interference errors are the most by any Phillies team since 1972. The '72 Phillies also had four.
It also was the third consecutive game the Phillies committed catcher's interference. The only other teams since 1920 to do that are the 2017 A's and the 1965 Cubs.
"Yeah, I think it's something to look into," Kapler said. "From the dugout, we have a really good view if our catchers are too close to the plate, and right now, we don't think they are. But it's something that we want to pay some attention to. One thing to note is sometimes it has to do with the opposing batter's swing and how he lays the bat in the zone. This is not always about the catchers. Sometimes it's about the hitter's swing. But it's definitely something I'm going to look into. We're going to get together on that one and get a little bit more information."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Hoskins returned from the DL on Saturday and hit a three-run home run to left field in the third inning to hand the Phillies a 3-2 lead. It was Hoskins' seventh homer of the season, and his first since May 20. Each of Hoskins' home runs this season have given the Phillies the lead. Hoskins' homer against Brewers left-hander Brent Suter left his bat at 97.7 mph and traveled a projected 357 feet.
• Helmet happy: Hoskins cranks HR in DL return
HE SAID IT
"My expectation is that hitters will go through stretches of really good performances and in a long season every hitter goes through a stretch of poor performances. And Odubel is just not swinging the bat great right now. It's part of the long season, just like we're not playing our best baseball right now. That also is part of a long season and the one thing we're devoted to is not getting too high or too low, getting caught up in the storm going on. We stay the course, we put our heads down, we work and we get ready for the next day." -- Kapler, on Odubel Herrera's struggles
Since hitting .361 through May 17, Herrera is hitting .176 in his last 21 games. Kapler indicated Herrera could get a previously scheduled day off Sunday.
FRANCO SITS AGAINST LEFTY
Maikel Franco did not start for the third consecutive game, despite a left-handed pitcher on the mound. The Phillies said this week that Franco's playing time will be cut as they try to play J.P. Crawford more at third base. Kapler explained that Franco did not feel well Friday. He said they gave him an extra day to recuperate.
"At the same time, we're going to play J.P. and Maikey and Scott [Kingery], and there may not be an exact formula for when they play," Kapler said.
Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin (2-2, 3.74 ERA) faces Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff (2-0, 6.05 ERA) in Sunday afternoon's series finale at Citizens Bank Park. Eflin allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings Tuesday in a 6-1 victory over the Cubs. He needed it after posting an 8.10 ERA in his previous three starts.