Sunday, August 13, 2017

Odubel Herrera runs Phillies out of rally; fall to Mets in finale

Odubel Herrera runs Philadelphia out of a rally against the Mets
Odubel Herrera has shown over the past two seasons that he can be an All-Star caliber player, but he's also shown an alarming tendency to commit mental blunders that ultimately chip away at his overall value.

Taking the good with the bad can only go so far.

Trailing 4-1 in the fifth with the bases loaded and nobody out Freddy Galvis held at third base on a Nick Williams fly out to center. Given the circumstances with no out Galvis should have initiated a play at the plate but opted instead to hold at third. The throw from center pulled catcher Travis d'Arnaud up the first base line and that's when Herrera put his head down, broke for third, and essentially ran the Phillies out of a potential rally. He was tagged out standing right next to Galvis who never made an attempt to advance.

"When I saw that it was a fly ball my first thought was to tag to go to third," Herrera said. "Then I noticed the catcher didn't catch the ball right away and I wanted to make it to third, so when I got there and saw Freddy I knew it was too late and I had made a mistake."

Phillies Manager Pete Mackanin has addressed Herrera's decision making several times this season by either pulling him from contests or benching him. The trouble is, Herrera is still the best all-around offensive player on the Phillies 25-man roster.

"I prefer instead of looking at Odubel with positives and negatives to say he's more positive than negative," Mackanin said. "If you go back and look at the last six or seven weeks he hasn't made many mistakes. This was an innocent mistake, he just didn't keep his head up." 

Galvis eventually crossed the plate later in the frame on a wild pitch, but the threat of a big inning was thwarted as the Mets coasted to a 6-2 win Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. 

Michael Conforto launched a Zach Eflin fastball over the fence in right for a two-run homer in the opening frame. The Phillies answered with Rhys Hoskins collecting his first major league RBI on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the first to bring the Phillies to within a run. He also collected his first major league hit with a single in the fifth to snap an 0-for-12.

"You dream about that for a long time and it was nice to do it in that situation," Hoskins said. "I thought I was having good at-bats for the most part, just some things weren't going my way and these guys are pretty good up here too, so it was a combination of all of that."

Curtis Granderson drilled a two-run shot in the fifth and added an RBI-single in the seventh. He finished the afternoon with three hits.

Jorge Alfaro collected two hits for the Phillies in the losing effort.

Eflin lasted just 5 1/3 innings for the Phillies, surrendering four runs on seven hits, including two homers. In five starts at Citizens Bank Park this year he's 0-3 with a 7.05 ERA and over nine career starts in Philadelphia he's 1-5 with a 5.72 ERA.

"I think it's a matter of location," Eflin said. "Leaving a couple two strike pitches up in the zone and giving them something to hit when I shouldn't, I think that's more along the lines of what we're looking at."

Herrera reached base in the fifth via a single, extending his career-best hitting streak to 16 games, the longest by a Phillie in a single season since Raul Ibanez pieced together an 18-game hitting streak in 2010. 

"I'll take him any day," Mackanin said of Herrera.

The Phillies head out west to embark on a seven-game road trip beginning Monday night in San Diego. The trip concludes with a four-game series in San Francisco.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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