Phillies vs. Red Sox: Another poor start from Aaron Nola and 3 more errors

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Phillies doomed by another poor start from Nola and 3 more errors originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies had another one of those innings — if you’ve watched them in 2021, you understand the reference — and it was the turning point of what became an 11-3 loss to the Red Sox.

With the game tied in the fifth inning, Aaron Nola came undone facing a tough lineup for a third time, but he was also hurt by his defense. He struck out the first two hitters he faced and had two strikes on leadoff hitter Danny Santana when his hanging curveball was taken deep to right field.

The inning didn’t end there. Alex Verdugo singled, J.D. Martinez walked, Xander Bogaerts singled and the Phillies made another blunder in the field. Verdugo scored on Bogaerts’ single and the Phillies appeared to have Martinez caught too far off of second base after a relay throw to Alec Bohm. That should have been it for the fifth with the Phillies down two runs. But Bohm’s throw to Jean Segura at second base was wide and nicked off of Segura’s glove into the outfield, allowing Martinez to score and Bogaerts to reach third.

Your nightly Phillies defensive gaffe. The play was more so on Bohm, but Segura also laid on the ground after missing the throw rather than chasing after it. Manager Joe Girardi was short in his answers to questions about the play, still wearing the frustration on his face.

Bohm committed another error in the seventh inning, throwing wide of first base on a routine groundball that pulled Rhys Hoskins off the bag. It was Bohm’s seventh error of the season and 11th since his call-up last summer. That’s tied for the most among National League third basemen and Bohm didn’t even come up until the third week of the season last year.

"I think there’s frustration in the young man on both sides of the baseball," Girardi said. "You have to learn how to handle each one separately. He works his butt off, but sometimes things can snowball a bit before they get better."

The Phils’ other error came when Andrew McCutchen kicked a ball in left field, allowing Hunter Renfroe to advance to second on a single. 

Through 45 games, the 22-23 Phillies have committed 26 errors. 

They are under .500 for the first time since May 3, when they were 14-15 but in the process of sweeping the Brewers in a four-game series.

Nola has not pitched up to his standard lately. He has a 5.20 ERA in his last five starts and has averaged 5.5 innings. The Phillies are 1-4 in those games.

"It’s gonna turn around for sure, I believe in that," he said. "But I’ve got to do a better job of limiting damage and first-inning runs. I’m giving up too many right now.

"I’ve gone through this a few times before. I’m going to trust in myself and keep making my pitches."

Nola gave up two runs in a 24-pitch first inning Friday before settling in to retire 12 of the next 13, eight via strikeout. Then came that ugly fifth, an inning he was one strike away from finishing untouched.

The Phillies, again, didn’t do enough offensively. Not hitting Sandy Alcantara or Trevor Rogers was more understandable than not doing damage against Red Sox finesse lefty Martin Perez, who has pitched well this season but also had a 5.12 ERA in the 98 starts preceding it.

The Phillies’ runs scored on Segura’s two-run shot to left-center in the third and Bohm’s RBI single in the sixth. All three came with two outs. Segura had a three-hit night and is batting .327.

Bryce Harper had another silent night, going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He has not had good at-bats this week. In his last six games, he’s 2 for 20 with 10 strikeouts and just one walk.

Vince Velasquez and Chase Anderson, the Phillies' Nos. 4 and 5 starters as of earlier this week, both pitched in relief after Connor Brogdon allowed three runs (one earned). Velasquez retired all four batters he faced with three strikeouts. Anderson allowed three runs in his inning of work on a bases-clearing double by Christian Vazquez.

The three-game series continues Saturday night with Spencer Howard making his first start of the season against hard-throwing Red Sox right-hander Nate Eovaldi. The Phillies will have to make a roster move Saturday afternoon to officially promote Howard.

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