Never one to mince words, Phillies analyst John Kruk sounded off on the team after its second straight sloppy 5-1 loss to the Nationals in what was a must-win series.
The Phillies committed three errors Monday night and two more in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Three of those errors came in the outfield — two by Mickey Moniak and one by Bryce Harper.
The Phils controlled their own destiny heading into the doubleheader but might not from here, depending on the results of games in Cincinnati and San Francisco tonight.
“When they were playing National League baseball, taking extra bases, stealing bases, moving runners, being aggressive, that was baseball. What we’re watching now is closer to Little League with errors and senseless errors,” Kruk said on Phillies Postgame Live between games.
“This is not a playoff team the way they’re playing right now. This is not a team that deserves to be in the playoffs the way they’re playing.”
The Phillies began the day a half-game up on the Brewers and Giants for the eighth and final NL playoff spot.
After a frustrating series opener in D.C., Game 1 on Tuesday quickly unraveled. In the first inning, Mickey Moniak played a hard-hit ball from Juan Soto poorly for a two-base error. The next batter singled to right field and Harper fielded it casually and flat-footed after two hops rather than charge it to try to make a play at the plate. Soto would have been out with an aggressive charge and strong throw.
Harper later booted a ball in the outfield that led to another Nationals run. The ball wouldn’t have even reached Harper if the Phillies had a more limber, mobile first baseman than Jay Bruce, who missed the ball to his left.
Bruce was at first because Rhys Hoskins missed his 12th and 13th straight games with an elbow injury.
“No excuse for Bryce, that ball hit to right field,” Kruk said. “I don’t know if he didn’t think anyone was on second but fielding that ball the way he did didn’t tell you that he knew what the situation was. He forgot or something. I’m sure we’ll find the answer to that soon.”
Only the starting pitcher has spoken with the media in between games of doubleheaders this season so we’ll have more clarity on that Harper play after Game 2.
The Phillies took an early 2-0 lead in the nightcap but David Phelps and JoJo Romero coughed up four runs in the third inning of a bullpen game.