NL East rivals feasting on Phillies early in the season


MIAMI -- It was just a week ago that the Phillies were knocking the ball all over Citizens Bank Park, winning their first two games of the season and looking like a team that no one in the National League East wanted to mess with.

Since then, they are 1-5.

On Friday night, the Miami Marlins laid a 7-1 beating on the Phillies. It was the Phils' fourth loss in a row and second in as many nights to the Marlins. Since the start of the 2020 season, the Phils are 6-13 against the Marlins in South Florida.

The loss dropped the Phillies to 3-5 after eight games. They are 1-4 against the Mets and Marlins, two NL East opponents.

Offense was supposed to be this team's calling card -- and with the track records in this lineup, it likely will end up being so -- but through eight games, the Phils have been shut out once and held to one run two other times.

Only a solo homer by Nick Castellanos with two outs in the eighth prevented the Phillies from being shut out in this one.

The Phils were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. They are 2 for 16 in those situations in the first two games of the series and have scored a total of just four runs.

"The big thing is we're not scoring runs when we have opportunities," manager Joe Girardi said. "I really believe we're going to hit. There are other teams going through it and we're going through it right now.

"In eight games, we've swung the bat decent in three or four of them and in the other games we've struggled."

Leadoff man Kyle Schwarber is mired in a difficult early-season slump. He went hitless in five at-bats Friday night and has just one hit in his last 28. 

"We just have to do better, plain and simple," Schwarber said of the team's offensive struggles. "We're putting together some good at-bats and then when we get guys on, we're not capitalizing and getting them in. As a whole, that's our goal. But what are we at, Game 8? I'm glad we could point out some weaknesses and start working on them. 

"I don't think you'll see any panic in this clubhouse. It's a long season. But there are some things I need to personally work on and some things as a team we need to work on and we're going to do that and be better."

With a lefty (Trevor Rogers) on the mound Saturday night, Schwarber could get a rest. Girardi intends to give Alec Bohm a start and it would make sense to use him as the designated hitter with Castellanos getting some time in left field.

Girardi rested J.T. Realmuto on Friday night, the day after the Phils' catcher reached base five times on four singles and a walk.

Garrett Stubbs got the start behind the plate, working with Zach Eflin for the second straight time.

Eflin was not sharp in his second start of the season. He fell behind in counts and was tagged for two doubles, a single and two runs in the first inning. He gave up two more runs in the second on a pair of singles and a triple. The right-hander got things straightened out in the third and fourth innings but exited after 81 pitches as the Phils continued to exercise some caution after his short spring training.

Reliever Nick Nelson also had a tough time with the Marlins' lineup. He was tagged for three runs in two innings of work.

In all, Phillies pitching gave up five extra-base hits -- three doubles and two triples.

Ranger Suarez will look to cool the Marlins' bats on Saturday night. 

If there was a bright spot for the Phillies in Friday night's debacle it was the play of rookie center fielder Simón Muzziotti. He got the start in place of slumping Matt Vierling and made two nice defensive plays -- a catch at the wall and a throw for an assist -- and had his first big-league hit, a single in the third inning. Vierling pinch-hit in the ninth inning and broke his 0-for-15 skid with a single.

According to the Phillies' media relations staff, Muzziotti is only the second Phillie in the expansion era (since 1961) to collect his first career hit in the same game in which he recorded an outfield assist. The other was Danny Cater against the Cubs on April 17, 1964.

(That was not a good year for the Phillies, if you hadn't heard.)

Before this season, Muzziotti had played just 12 games above the Class A level. He was added to the roster when Mickey Moniak suffered a broken hand two days before the season opener.

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