Philadelphia Phillies

Poor defense continues to plague Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies’ 100th error of the season cost them a game against Washington on Monday as fielding miscues continue to haunt the team.

The Philadelphia Phillies literally threw away a game against Washington on Monday night, and it exposed a major flaw that continues to haunt the team as they push towards the playoffs.

In the fourth inning in Philadelphia, with the Phillies and Nationals tied 2-2, Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg attempted a bunt with the bases loaded. The Phillies starter, Zach Eflin, fielded the bunt cleanly but his throw to catcher Wilson Ramos flew to the backstop, allowing the go-ahead run to score.

Later in the same inning, left fielder Rhys Hoskins misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Juan Soto, breaking backwards before watching the ball fall in front of him. That allowed another Nationals run to score, and the Phillies went on to lose the game against their NL East rivals 5-3.

Poor defence has plagued the Phillies all year. Eflin’s wild throw was the team’s 100th error of the season, second worst in the majors behind only St. Louis. They are tied for worst in the league with -99 defensive runs saved (DRS), according to Fangraphs. The 25-year-old Hoskins has helped the team with his bat by hitting 27 home runs, including one on Monday, but is third-worst among outfielders in DRS.

Manager Gabe Kapler says the team can’t afford to make these mistakes if they hope to have a deep run into October.

“We gave a club with a good, deep lineup additional outs. Can’t afford to do that,” he said after the game Monday. “We did it with a pretty good start by Strasburg on the other side. Against a team like this you have to get the outs when you have a chance to get the outs.”

Besides his pivotal error, Eflin was otherwise solid against Washington. He gave up three earned runs in 5.1 innings but took the loss to drop his record on the season to 9-5. The 24-year-old, in his third year in the Phillies rotation, has a 3.99 ERA in 19 starts in 2018. He admits, however, that his misplay cost his team the game.

“Honestly, I thought I threw the ball pretty well. I thought we did a good job of mixing it up,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I lost the game.”

The Phillies (70-61) trail the Atlanta Braves by 3.5 games in the NL East while sitting 2.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot.

They have not make the playoffs since 2011. Unless they fix their defensive deficiencies, that drought will likely continue for another year.

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