The Philadelphia Phillies aren’t having a great season, and one play Wednesday night summed up their struggles quite perfectly.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, with their game against the Braves tied 4-4, Phillies pitcher Jose Alvarado delivered a pitch to Austin Riley that skipped in the dirt well ahead of catcher J.T. Realmuto. Dansby Swanson took off from first and tried to steal second, and Realmuto picked up the ball and tried to throw him out.
The throw may have been a little high, but it was close enough that second baseman Jean Segura didn’t feel the need to move off the bag to catch it. Still, the throw sailed over him – and also past shortstop Bryson Stott, who had come over to back up the throw.
Then, most bafflingly, the ball got past center fielder Odubel Herrera, who made a futile attempt to pick the wayward throw up off the grass and the ball rolled toward the warning track.
Swanson easily trotted all the way around the bases to home plate, giving the Braves a 5-4 lead. Atlanta went on to win 8-4. The loss dropped the Phillies to 20-24 as another season with high expectations is off to a scuffling start.
“We gave it away,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said after the game. “Alvy had a hard time throwing strikes. We had the ball thrown by J.T. missed by a couple of guys and then we didn’t do much after that offensively. It’s unfortunate.
“It looked like [Segura] was trying to be quick with the tag, and they work on that all the time. It looked like Odubel just peeked up.”
The Phillies had been widely expected to struggle on defense throughout the 2022 season, and while they haven’t been quite as terrible as predicted, they are still ninth-worst in the MLB in errors (27) and 10th-worst in fielding percentage. Those struggles were on full display Wednesday night.