Phillies experience the good, the bad, and the ugly in loss to Marlins

Phillies experience the good, the bad, and the ugly in loss to Marlins originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Phillies starter Zack Wheeler thought he had Marlins catcher Ali Sanchez struck out with two outs in the seventh inning. Home plate umpire Emil Jiminez disagreed and his vote was the only one that counted. And then it got worse.

The Phillies bullpen, so good for so long, exploded more spectacularly than the postgame fireworks show, helping turn a three-run Phillies lead into a 7-4 loss to the last-place Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. And then it got worse.

Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber had to come out of the game in the ninth inning with what was announced as tightness in his left groin. And then it got worse.

Newly-minted All-Star starting first baseman Bryce Harper, a legitimate MVP candidate at the mathematical midpoint of the season, came up limping running out a grounder for the final out of the game after pulling his hamstring.

What went wrong for the Phillies in the final three innings? Everything. Everywhere. Seemingly all at once.

From back to front:

Both Harper and Schwarber are expected to undergo further testing Friday. “We’ll just have to wait and check them out,” manager Rob Thomson said. But losing either or both for any significant time would obviously be a large setback, especially since the lineup is already missing catcher J.T. Realmuto following arthroscopic knee surgery.

Said Harper, who began to feel discomfort halfway up the line. “We’ll see what the imaging shows and we’ll go from there. I don’t know (how concerning this is). I’ve never felt anything like this before. If I had something to go back on, I’d let you know. But I haven’t.

“It hurts. So we’ll see what happens.”

Said Schwarber, who started in left field for just the third time this year: “They wanted to get me out of there precautionary-wise. Hopefully it won’t be super serious. We’ll see what happens and go from there.”

He was injured while making a throw back to the infield in the eighth after a routine grounder rolled under the glove of shortstop Edmundo Sosa. “I reached down barehanded and tried to plant to throw and that’s when it just grabbed. I thought it cramped at first but running it still kind of hurt,” he said.

Coming into the game, Phillies relievers had a 2.04 combined earned run average in their last 40 games.

But Matt Strahm (0.86) and Jeff Hoffman (1.08), two of their most dependable bullpen arms, didn’t get the job done against a Marlins team that’s next to last in baseball in runs scored.

Strahm relieved Wheeler with two outs and runners on first and third in the seventh. He hit Jazz Chisolm Jr. with a pitch to load the bases, then gave up a double to Bryan De La Cruz that cleared the bases and tied the score. De La Cruz then scored the go-ahead run when Josh Bell followed with a single.

The Phillies came back to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh, but Hoffman gave up a leadoff homer to Jake Burger in the eighth and Miami tacked on another run after Tim Anderson doubled with one out.

“That’s baseball. It happens,” manager Rob Thomson said.

Wheeler was convinced it shouldn’t have come to that, that he struck out Sanchez on an 0-2 fastball that appeared on the replay to have caught the upper outside corner of the strike zone. Instead it was called a ball. Sanchez eventually singled and that’s when Strahm came into the game.

“I know for a fact that was a strike,” Wheeler said. “He called it and it cost us four runs. I know it’s hard back there but, at the same time, it cost us four runs.”

Either way, the Phillies lost. Now they have to pick themselves up, just like the grounds crew had to pick up the fireworks debris from the field after the fans filed out of the stadium.

UP NEXT: Pitching matchups for the remainder of the Marlins series: RHP Kyle Tyler (0-0, 4.50) vs. LHP Cristopher Sanchez (5-3, 2.67) Friday at 6:20 p.m., RHP Roddery Munoz (1-3, 5.80) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (9-3, 3.39) Saturday at 4:05 p.m. and RHP Yonny Chirinos (0-0, 2.70) vs. LHP Ranger Suarez (10-2, 2.01) Sunday at 1:35 p.m.