Phillies lose Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and a game to Blue Jays

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Phillies lose a game and 2 stars, Girardi perturbed by sloppy defense originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

A road trip that has already seen J.T. Realmuto miss a couple of games with a leg contusion and Didi Gregorius miss three games with a swollen right elbow claimed more casualties Saturday night.

Bryce Harper and Realmuto both made early departures from the Phillies' sloppy, lifeless, 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida.

Harper, who has already missed time this season with lower back tightness and a sore left wrist, exited with something new — a sore right shoulder.

Realmuto exited with soreness in the area around the base of his left hand, near the wrist. He missed a couple of games two weeks ago with a contusion in the same area, the result of his trying to block a pitch in the dirt.

There's a good chance the Phils won't have Harper and Realmuto for Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Jays.

"I'm not sure about either one of them," manager Joe Girardi said with exasperation in his voice. 

The Phils are already playing without their starting shortstop, Gregorius, who is sidelined with a swollen right elbow. Gregorius is not on the injured list, so the Phils have essentially been playing a man down throughout the series. 

With three regulars doubtful for Sunday, one wonders how Girardi will even construct a representative lineup.

"It's a good question," he said. "We'll have to figure something out."

If injuries to his top two position players weren't enough to leave Girardi in a sour mood after the loss, his team's performance on offense and defense would surely have done the trick.

The offense produced just six hits — one was an infield hit and one was a bloop — and struck out 14 times

It was the 24th time that Phillies hitters reached double digits in strikeouts in 40 games.

The Phils were no better defensively. They committed three official errors and had a couple of other miscues that weren't scored errors but could have been.

It was an all-around shoddy performance, one of many this season on the defensive side of the ball.

What was the problem?

"I have no idea," Girardi said. "Offense, you're going to get shut down sometimes. That's going to happen.

"But catch the ball. Just catch the ball. That's all we need to do. I don't know what that is. They work every day. They do their stuff. It has to be they're just not following the ball in their glove. Miscommunication. It shouldn't happen at this level."

Girardi indicated that he'd speak to some of his sloppy defenders.

"I always take care of stuff," he said.

Aaron Nola lost for the second time on the road trip. He gave up a booming home run to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the bottom of the first inning and two more runs in the second.

Early on, it had the look of a short night for Nola, but he managed to churn out 6⅔ innings and keep the Jays at three runs. He allowed nine hits, a walk and struck out eight.

It was a grind for Nola all night, but he kept his club in the game. Alas, the offense did not bail him out. And the defense cost him a run.

"He battled his tail end off," Girardi said. "He didn't have his curveball. He probably should have given up two runs in 6⅔ innings to a pretty good offense." 

The Phils are 4-4 on this trip and 21-19 overall. Chase Anderson will start the final game of the trip against Toronto lefty Robbie Ray.

Still to be determined is what kind of lineup the Phils can put on the field. Gregorius, Harper and Realmuto are all doubtful.

It's also not completely clear if the bats and the defense will show up. They were both AWOL on Saturday night.

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