Phillies Game Story

Turner's frustration boils over in another close Phillies loss

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There were a number of reasons why the Phillies lost a winnable 3-2 game to the Orioles Monday night to begin a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park. 

They had 11 baserunners but no extra-base hits. Bryce Harper was thrown out at the plate to end the eighth inning on an aggressive but not reckless send from third base coach Dusty Wathan. Kyle Schwarber was unable to catch a sinking liner in the top of the ninth that brought in Baltimore’s winning run. Tough play? Yes. Does a defensive replacement like Brandon Marsh make it? Maybe. 

Trea Turner had a miserable night to continue his shockingly underwhelming first year as a Phillie. He went 0-for-3, committed two errors and was ejected by home plate umpire Will Little after taking issue with an inning-ending called strike three in the fifth that nipped the bottom of the zone. 

“Thought the pitch was down, he told me it was a good pitch,” Turner said. “I said it’s not a good pitch, it’s either a ball or a strike. Usually when they say it’s a good pitch, it’s a ball. 

“Just going back and forth, and I threw my stuff back to the dugout. He told me to not do that. I told him I can throw my stuff back to the dugout if I want, and he threw me out. I’ve said a lot worse and not gotten ejected, but I guess he thought that was the line.”

Turner has committed 12 errors this season and has an even lower fielding percentage than he had a year ago when he committed a career-worst 16. There could be more on his ledger, too, if not for league-wide official scoring skewing more heavily than ever toward hits. 

The two errors Monday came on relatively routine plays. The first was a one-hopper that he couldn’t control. The second was a groundball slightly to his left. 

“Mentally, I feel good,” he said. “Just kind of being aggressive, being myself and forgetting about all that stuff early in the year. I felt really good. First play was a tough one, I can live with that one. Second play obviously was not as good. I need to make that play. 

“I feel like there’s some areas I can live with and then there’s some I think can be fixed. I think there’s a little bit of that every year.”

Turner’s absence was felt in the bottom of the eighth was when his spot came up with runners on first and second, nobody out and the Phillies down a run. Edmundo Sosa hit instead, unsuccessfully bunted to two strikes, worked the count full and hit a ball on a line to the wrong spot. Third baseman Ramon Urias caught it and doubled off Johan Rojas at second. 

Harper and Nick Castellanos followed with singles to tie the game but Harper was out at the plate trying to score from first on Castellanos’ hit to left-center. 

“Really thought Sosa was going to pick me up there,” Turner said. “He had a great at-bat, but yeah, I definitely wish I was out there. Don’t like watching, it’s why I like playing every day.”

Craig Kimbrel, who blew his first save of the season Sunday in the Phillies’ extra-inning win in Cleveland, had two outs in the top of the ninth with a man on third. Colton Cowser, who was credited with the outfield assist on Harper, hit a sinking liner to the opposite field that Schwarber dove but couldn’t catch. Some will question why Schwarber was still in the game. His bat is difficult to remove with the score tied. Jake Cave started at first base and Harper was the DH as the Phillies ease him into regular duty at first. 

The Phillies are 53-47 after losing for the fifth time in six games. They ended the night a half-game behind the Marlins and Giants for the final wild-card spot. 

Cristopher Sanchez was excellent again, holding a top-tier Orioles offense to two runs and setting career-highs in innings (7) and strikeouts (8). He was victimized by two solo home runs hit by rookie Jordan Westburg and Ryan Mountcastle. The trade deadline is a week from Tuesday but Sanchez has turned an early-season vacancy into his job. He has a 2.61 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in seven starts since being recalled in mid-June.

The Phils’ offense has scored just 22 runs in the last seven games and been held scoreless in 41 of the past 50 innings. 

“That’s baseball,” Turner said. “We’ve got a really good lineup and we can do better as a whole. Cleveland’s got a really good staff and these guys are in first place in their division for a reason. Played some tough teams and that’s going to happen. Three one-run losses and an extra-inning win. Wish we could be on the other side of that, but we’re playing better baseball still. It’s just one play here or there that’s kind of been the difference.”

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