Ranger Suarez was cruising through the first five innings of the Phillies match against the Miami Marlins Saturday night, until he oddly pulled by manager Joe Girardi. The Phils were lucky that Hector Neris and Connor Brogdon had shut the Fish for the next two. The offense hadn’t done much, but just enough.
The Phillies were on their way to evening another all-important, late-season series in Miami. Then they suffered the gut-punch that always seems to occur in Miami. Archie Bradley allowed three eighth-inning runs, including a go-ahead, opposite-field two-run homer to Lewis Brinson. The Phillies lost, 3-2.
The Phillies are 69-66 with 27 games to play. They began the night two games behind the Atlanta Braves, who are still playing in Colorado.
The Phillies have lost 20 of their last 31 games at LoanDepot Park. They are 7-8 in the season series and have hit .217.
It was the Phillies’ 11th loss of the season when leading in the eighth inning or later. The only team in the majors that has thrown more games in those situations is the Marlins.
“It’s frustrating but you’ve got to turn the page and move on to tomorrow and find a way to win a game,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Losing these two games did not end our season. There’s still 27 games left and we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to score more runs.”
Andrew McCutchen put them on the board in the fourth inning with his 23rd home run of the season. Suarez, the starting pitcher, added an RBI double in the inning. It was his first career RBI.
Suarez pitched five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. He threw 71 pitches after throwing 95 and 99 in his last two starts. Girardi and Suarez both said he’s dealing with a bit of a dead arm as he continues to develop stamina as a starter. Suarez said he’s felt the fatigue in his triceps and acknowledged it could be the result of those two higher pitch counts.
He has a 1.71 ERA in seven starts since joining the Phillies’ rotation. Over that span, Aaron Nola’s ERA is 5.46, Zack Wheeler’s is 4.81 and Kyle Gibson’s is 4.79.
Saturday was crucial to this three-game series because the Phillies are going with a bullpen game Sunday. Now, they’ve already lost the series with a chance to be swept, which would cancel out the positivity of the series they just swept in D.C.
The Phils have four games left with the Marlins. They can control whether or not they hear all offseason about Miami again having their number. This weekend has not inspired much hope.