Jake Arrieta Not Sharp and Failed Again by Phillies' Defense

Make it three rough starts in a row for Jake Arrieta.

Arrieta lacked his best stuff and was tuned up by the Brewers Friday night in Milwaukee. It would be an understatement to say the Phillies' defense didn't help.

Arrieta allowed eight runs in 3⅓ innings, but only four were earned. The Phillies committed three errors behind him (and another later) but it was even worse than that.

Two of the errors were charged to Scott Kingery at shortstop. The first was on a throw that could have completed a double play. It didn't impact the score.

Kingery's second error was costly. 

With the bases loaded and nobody out in the second inning and the Brewers up 1-0, Lorenzo Cain struck a ball on one hop to Kingery at short. In his haste to begin a double play, Kingery failed to glove the ball and it skipped into center field, plating two runs.

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It was a play a starting shortstop has to make, and it affected the rest of the inning. Instead of a man on third, two outs and Milwaukee up 2-0, it escalated into a five-run inning.

Arrieta took the full brunt of the blame, refusing to criticize his defense after this one.

"It was sh---y all the way around," Arrieta told reporters. "And that's a good example of why the starting pitcher is charged with the win or the loss. In a situation like that, I singlehandedly lost us the game. Not the way I drew it up. Any time you start a game where a position player has to pitch, it's frustrating.

"I put up a five-spot in the second inning and it wasn't because of the defense really. And if there's a defensive play that's not made, it's our job to get the next guy out and pick him up."

The Phillies are giving Kingery this everyday opportunity to seize the job at shortstop, moving J.P. Crawford over to third base since his return from the DL. Kingery barely played shortstop in the minors. 

Rhys Hoskins also failed to glove a ball on the run in left field to begin the fourth, resulting in the pitcher reaching second base and scoring a batter later.

Mixed in was a wild pitch from Arrieta, a liner Cesar Hernandez didn't catch, and a sacrifice fly that Nick Williams dropped on the exchange.

Arrieta was not sharp tonight but this just continues the theme of him being negatively affected by the Phillies' defense. With the second-highest groundball rate in MLB, Arrieta needs his defense to be sound.

The four unearned runs tonight make it 11 on the season for Arrieta, which is tied with Garrett Richards for the most in the majors. No other pitcher has allowed more than eight unearned runs.

It was two weeks ago in San Francisco when Arrieta criticized the Phillies' defensive shifts and called Kingery out by name when explaining a play that needed to be made.

Those harsh comments led to several conversations between Arrieta, manager Gabe Kapler, Kingery and other teammates, and Kapler was glad it happened. The hope from all parties was that it would lead to Arrieta having more say in the defensive strategy behind him.

But, in short, the Phillies' defense this season has cost them. They've committed 54 errors, the most in the National League. You go position by position and on most nights, the only two above-average defensive players (in relation to their major-league peers) are the centerfielder and rightfielder.

Arrieta left with the Phillies trailing 8-0 and well on their way to another blowout loss to the Brewers. 

Jesmuel Valentin ended up pitching the ninth - the third time already Kapler has had to use a position player to pitch in mop-up duty - and the Phillies lost 13-2. Cesar Hernandez was 3 for 3 with an RBI double, and Odubel Herrera homered in the ninth down a dozen runs.

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