February 3, 2023

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Play at plate stings as Phils fall to Dodgers

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PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies seemingly can’t catch a break, and Saturday was no different in a 7-4 loss to the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Philadelphia (18-22) has lost five out of its last six games.

The Phils couldn’t make the big plays late in the game, most notably when they had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning with the game tied at 4.

Philadelphia had runners on second and third with one out and Dodgers right-hander Justin Bruihl on the mound. Rhys Hoskins hit a ground ball to third baseman Justin Turner. Suddenly Odúbel Herrera found himself caught in a round down. But somehow Herrera managed to make it back to third base and the bases were loaded. 

“On that play, I was running on contact,” Herrera said through interpreter Diego Ettedgui. “As soon as [Hoskins] hit the grounder, I took off. I realized I wasn’t going to have time to make it to home plate. I was in that rundown. I was able to get back safely.” 

Alec Bohm was the next hitter, and he hit the ball to right field. Mookie Betts caught the ball and threw out Herrera at the plate to end the threat. The double play took the bat out of the next hitter’s hands — and that was Bryce Harper, who was playing his first game in a week.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi said third-base coach Dusty Wathan did nothing wrong sending Herrera home.

“I’m OK with it,” Girardi said. “Betts makes a perfect throw. Betts is a good outfielder. There is no doubt about it. He made a really good throw. There are a lot of things that could happen that could go your way. It just didn’t.”

Since the Phillies are having a tough time scoring of late, was Wathan trying to be aggressive at the plate?

“Dusty is a really good third-base coach, so I don’t think so,” Girardi said.

Herrera said he heard Whathan say, “Let’s go.” and then he took off.

“It’s the situation of the game,” Herrera said. “We are playing against a really good team. You have to make a decision in a split second. The moment doesn’t allow you to think much about it. As soon as you make what you think is the right decision, you do it. You execute.”

Betts said he figured that Herrera was going to make an attempt to come home.

“So I was just ready for it, you know? That’s what we practice so many times in Spring Training and you’re still doing it during the season as well — getting plenty of practice in,” Betts said. “So that opportunity came and I was able to execute.”

It went downhill for the Phillies after that. The Dodgers took the lead in the top of the eighth inning, when Gavin Lux singled off Seranthony Domínguez to bring home pinch-runner Austin Barnes. Cody Bellinger then scored on a wild pitch by Domínguez. An inning later, Barnes hit a solo homer run off Jeurys Familia.   

Even though the Phillies have lost five of their last six games, right-hander Aaron Nola believes the team will get back on the right track. In his opinion, the team is too talented to let this season get out of hand. 

“This team is very talented. We’ve seen in stretches what we can do,” Nola said. “There is a lot of baseball left this season. Summer is right around the corner. Once we put it all together, I think it’s going to be really fun.”

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