Richards in a groove, but Marlins stay on slide

August 4th, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- is in the middle of his 13th Major League season. He has gone through slides like the one the Marlins, who after Friday night's 5-1 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park have dropped eight of their last 11 games, are experiencing now.

"I think that sometimes there's a rough patch. I would rather have it as a team and not just individual," Prado said. "I think we gotta just be better playing as a team. We don't have guys here that are going to drive 100 runs, so everything has to be perfect to be able to win our games. We gotta play the small ball and just make sure that we play defense and all that. It seems to me that we're a little out of alignment right now."

The Marlins played .500 baseball in June and were just one game below that mark in July, but Friday night looked more like the rebuilding team that's 16 games out of first place. The club lacked timely hitting. It played sloppy defense in the late innings of what was at one point a close contest.

Phillies starter Vince Velasquez stifled the Marlins early. They did not reach base until a fourth-inning walk. Their first hit came with two outs in the fifth.

"He kind of overpowered us those first few innings for sure," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

But even entering the game's final third, the Marlins had chances. They could not score after he reached third base with one out in the seventh. was hit by 's second pitch after relieving Velasquez, but the Phillies then went to , who got Prado to strike out and to pop out to first base.

Miami knocked three singles and scored their lone run in the eighth, but the Phillies summoned . He struck out J.T. Realmuto to strand runners on the corners.

"We gotta do a better job with men on base," Prado said. "We have to be able to drive in a run when we need to."

The inability to come through in big spots wasted another strong start from rookie starter , who went five innings and allowed a lone run in the third on ' RBI single. Richards struck out seven, walked two and stranded five. He owns a 2.55 ERA over his last eight starts, and that number shrinks to 0.76 over his last four starts.

Richards is 25. , who impressed on the mound Thursday night, is 22. As the Marlins navigate their current struggles, they must balance perspective for the future, too.

"We've got to judge everything, right?" Mattingly said. "You're trying to see all parts of your team and see what you have. As you look at Pablo and Trevor and all our young guys -- and our older guys, to be honest -- you're kind of looking at everything and trying to figure out what's going to work and what's not."


Starting short: Richards induced 10 whiffs with his changeup to match his second-highest total with that pitch this year. But he lasted just five frames because of a pitch count that climbed to 101.

"I threw a couple good [changeups] here and there, but consistently it wasn't quite there," Richards said. "Same with the fastball. My command was a little off, just yanking some balls, just mechanically flying open. I was able to dial it in when I needed to."

Sloppy defense: The Phillies added a run in the seventh after 's wild pitch went to the backstop. They plated three more in the eighth after two baserunners reached on plays that should have been made in the field: JT Riddle bobbled a grounder at short and missed a fly ball in center field that he seemed to have a play on.


Anderson, who went 2-for-3 with a double and the Marlins' lone RBI, became the first Marlins rookie with 25 doubles in a season since Gaby Sanchez had 37 in 2010.


Sierra led off the sixth inning with a ground ball to third base. made a diving stop and -- while sitting in the dirt -- threw across the infield to at first base. The speedy Sierra was originally ruled safe on a close play, but the Phillies challenged and the call was overturned.


The third matchup of this four-game series at Citizens Bank Park pits (3-10, 4.40 ERA) against Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin (7-3, 3.64 ERA). Urena blanked the Nationals over six innings his last time on the mound but has struggled to find consistency in 2018 after picking up 14 wins a season ago. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.