It was the final afternoon of a 10-day road trip for the Phillies and things got weird.
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The result of the game, a 10-8 loss to the Blue Jays, almost seemed secondary to the goings-on of the day ... until the top of the ninth. The Phillies, down eight runs at one point in this game, pulled within two with runners on the corners, two outs and Bryce Harper up in the ninth.
Yes, Bryce Harper, who did not start because of shoulder soreness. He struck out on a full count to end the game.
It was hard to tell on this afternoon who for the Phillies was hurt and who wasn't.
The Phils knew they’d wake up shorthanded Sunday morning with Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius all unavailable to play. Harper is dealing with a sore right shoulder, Realmuto a sore left hand and Gregorius has swelling in his right elbow.
All three were out of the lineup, then Andrew Knapp was scratched just before game-time with tightness in his side. It appeared manager Joe Girardi was entering a game with zero bench players.
But with the Phillies trailing 8-4, Harper entered the game in the bottom of the sixth. He took over in right field for Scott Kingery, who had three more uncompetitive at-bats, striking out all three times.
Was Harper feeling better after receiving treatment all day? It looked more like something happened to Kingery, the Phillies were in a pinch and Harper offered to step in. Harper’s shoulder clearly is not all the way right. He soft-tossed a ball in play back into the infield upon entering, and squared around for each pitch during his lone at-bat, popping one up to third base with two runners aboard.
There was also a dugout brouhaha between Girardi and Jean Segura after Segura’s first-inning error. Segura’s momentum was going toward first base on a ground ball and he hastily tried to begin a 4-3-6 double play, missing the ball completely. The Phillies committed three errors on Saturday and Girardi voiced his frustration with the defense afterward.
The Phillies dug an 8-0 hole as Chase Anderson had nothing. He gave up seven runs and recorded four outs as his ERA ballooned to 6.96. He’s made eight starts and completed five innings twice. (Spencer Howard?)
The Phils clawed back with eight runs after the fourth inning but were never in this game until the ninth. Nick Maton was a big bright spot with his first two major-league home runs. He also hit a two-run single and is batting .316 through 82 plate appearances.
The Phillies went 4-5 on this road trip and are 21-20. They trail in the NL East by a half-game to the Mets, who were swept by the Rays this weekend.
The Phils are off Monday and play six games at home this week against the Marlins and Red Sox. Zack Wheeler pitches the series opener against Miami Tuesday night.