The Phillies probably would speak more effusively about Odúbel Herrera’s home-run-robbing catch in the sixth inning Wednesday in Miami, except once the catch became a footnote in a 4-2 loss to the Marlins they kept their praise brief.
“Tremendous catch,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.
“Unbelievable catch,” Aaron Nola said.
The Phillies could only think about what happened after the catch. They allowed three runs in the eighth inning to blow a one-run lead. It spoiled a solid start from Nola, who allowed two hits and one run in six innings. It blew their chance to move back to .500. It blew their chance to win consecutive games in the same series in Miami for the first time since Aug. 31-Sept. 3, 2017.
“A loss is a loss in my book,” Nola said. “One-run games are tough when you lose them, man. You’re right there at the edge late in the game, the last inning or two. They’re also sweet when you pull them out.”
A victory Wednesday would have put the Phillies in position to win their first series in Miami since April 2019. Instead, they must win Thursday for a split.
“We’ve got to flush this one,” Nola said.
The Marlins scored three runs against the Phillies in the eighth. Corey Dickerson’s leadoff single got things going. Adam Duvall followed with a ground ball to third baseman Brad Miller, who one-hopped his throw to second baseman Jean Segura.
Segura caught the ball, but Miller’s throw prevented the Phillies from turning a rally-killing double play.
“We can turn that double play, and we didn’t and it’s frustrating,” Girardi said.
A fielder’s choice advanced Duvall to second. Isan Díaz walked. Phillies right-hander Sam Coonrod missed his spot on an 0-2 fastball. Catcher Andrew Knapp wanted the pitch down and in on Jon Berti, but the 97.6 mph fastball was up and over the middle of the plate. Knapp could not get his glove up in time. The ball got behind him to put runners on second and third with two outs.
“It’s a guy throwing 99 mph,” Girardi said, explaining that Knapp had little chance to catch it.
Berti singled to right to score Duvall and Diaz to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead. Berti stole second and scored when José Devers singled to left. Devers took a 97.3 mph fastball up and away and shot the ball past Miller.
“It’s quick,” Girardi said. “I’d have to see the tape to really know [if he could catch it]. He hit it really hard. It was a missed spot. We left it up and away and he smoked it.”
Girardi correctly pointed out that the two runs the Phillies scored gave the bullpen and defense no wiggle room. The Phillies had just five hits against the Marlins. They had just two hits in Tuesday’s victory. They are playing without Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius for the foreseeable future, so offense figures to remain an issue.
So does the defense.
“We push them every day,” Girardi said. “They’re out there every day working. They’re out early. They’re out during BP. They’re working on it. I don’t think that they’re not accountable. They’re accountable. I can tell you that. It’s just that we’ve struggled defensively the last couple years. We continue to work at it.
“We’re positive all the time. We’re optimistic that it’s going to get better. This is a hard game. Some of these plays are not hard. But some of them are difficult plays. This is a really hard game. I try to never forget that, right? There’s a ton of effort out there. I recognize that. We just got to continue to work at it. That’s what we’ve got to do.”