Odubel Herrera tried to help the Philadelphia Phillies win a ballgame Wednesday night. He succeeded on Thursday afternoon in a 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins. It wasn’t just Herrera who helped, in help with some good pitching and defense, the Phils got the job done.
The Phillies split the four-game series with the Marlins. They won Tuesday night’s game, 2-0, behind Vince Velasquez’ six strong innings and Hoskins’ two-run homer.
For the second day in a row, the Phillies blew a 2-1 lead in the eighth. The Phils’ defense fell apart behind Sam Coonrod in a three-run eighth Wednesday night. The Marlins rallied to win that game, 4-2.
The Phils are 25-26. They have played 18 one-run games and are 10-8 in them.
More Herrera here as here’s three takeaways:
Herrera & Hoksins big factor in win
Herrera led off the top of the ninth inning with a triple and scored the go-ahead run from third base when Ronald Torreyes beat out a potential double play moments later.
With one out and Herrera on third, Marlins closer Yimi Garcia went to second on a tapper back to the mound instead of freezing Herrera at third. Torreyes hustled the whole way and barely beat the throw from second, allowing the run to score. Miami challenged the play but first base umpire Jim Wolf got it right.
One night earlier, Herrera robbed a home run to preserve a 2-1 lead in the sixth but the Phillies ended up losing, 4-2.
Hoskins big game
Hoskins had another big game in the series finale.
His solo homer against Marlins starter Pablo Lopez in the fourth inning gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
The homer was Hoskins’ team-high 11th and it came just a couple of pitches after he was knocked down by an up-and-in fastball from Lopez.
The Phillies scored twice in the fourth inning. Herrera followed Hoskins’ homer with a double and moved to third on a base hit by Alec Bohm. Matt Joyce delivered the run with a sacrifice fly.
Howard’s encouraging start, Suarez pitches great, Alvarado scares fans, Neris gets save
Phillies starter Spencer Howard had some encouraging moments in his second start of the season for the big club.
The 24-year-old right-hander allowed just one hit and a walk while striking out four through the first four innings. His fastball topped out at 95.8 mph and averaged 93.5 mph over that span.
But Howard hit a wall in the fifth inning. He lost a tick on his fastball and his command vanished, as well. He gave up a base hit to open the frame then issued a pair of walks before Joe Girardi removed him at 66 pitches.
This was the second straight start that Howard’s performance has declined as his pitch count inched upward, though this decline was not as steep as the previous one. Five days earlier against the Boston Red Sox, Howard lost his velocity and his command in the third inning, as he was getting over just 35 pitches.
The Phillies say Howard is healthy. He will continue to get the ball as a starter and must figure out a way to maintain his sharpness for more than just a few innings. Maybe it will come with time and experience. The Phillies sure hope it does.
It wasn’t a big offensive performance for the Phillies, but it was enough, thanks mostly to the bullpen. Lefty Ranger Suarez in particular. He cleaned up Howard’s bases-loaded mess in the fifth and ended up with three scoreless innings. He allowed a hit, walked none, and struck out three.
Suarez has a fearlessness to him. He’s not afraid to go right at hitters. After a lost season in 2020 — he spent a month alone in a Clearwater, Florida hotel room in COVID-19 protocol — he could end up being quite valuable to this team. He throws strikes and he’s versatile. He has thrown 12 innings this season without allowing an earned run.
Jose Alvarado gave up this lead all by himself. He walked three batters in the eighth and one of them came around to score on a pinch-hit single by Garrett Cooper. Second baseman Nick Maton was shaded toward the second base bag and Cooper calmly swatted a 1-2 fastball (100 mph) through the hole to plate the tying run.
Alvarado is basically showing why the Tampa Bay Rays moved on from him over the winter. He has walked 16 batters in 17 innings.
The 25-26 Phillies will have a day off Friday, then head to Tampa Bay to play the 31-20 Rays behind Zack Wheeler, who has been the Phillies’ ace this season.