Phillies falter en route to the playoffs, losing fifth in a row in an 18-11 defeat by the Blue Jays

Four pitches in a very important home – perhaps last week the Phillies will play at home this season, whether they play playoffs or not – rookie Bryson Stott knocked out first base and a bloody photographer hit his forehead.

Somehow, things didn’t get any better after that.

The Phillies fumbled on the field and on the rules—a comedy of mistakes, if the wild card order wasn’t suddenly that serious—and were stunned, 18-11, by the Toronto Blue Jays before the 21,129 faithful (maybe?) at Citizens Bank Park.

At precisely the wrong time, the Phillies lost five games in a row, their longest slip under interim manager Rob Thompson and tied with a May 27-31 slide for the longest stretch of the season.

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But the Milwaukee Brewers fumbled the lead at home and fell to the New York Mets. So, while no one would be resting here, Phillies held onto a 2½-playing cushion (3½ including the tiebreak) for last place in the National League.

Raise your hand if you feel good about it.

Yes, I don’t think so.

The Phillies are trying to keep their past late-season meltdowns from infiltrating the club. Kyle Schwarber, a veteran of six seasons in seven years and the undisputed captain of the team, spoke after the game, sending a message: “Stay in the fight.”

“We’re going to finish tonight in a playoff,” starting player Kyle Gibson said after allowing seven in five. “We’re still in the driver’s seat. It depends on how we operate. It doesn’t depend on how anyone else is doing. We have a beautiful veteran team here in these situations. I think we still have a lot of confidence,” Schwarps said after the game.

But even if they maintain their grip on a break point, the Phillies don’t stand much chance of surviving their top three ground runs if they don’t clean things up.

Summary of their fouls against the Blue Jays, after Stott’s first foul:

– Gibson threw a belt-high volley to Matt Chapman for the Homer Two-Contender and Three-Stroke Championship which gave the Jays a first-half lead. Gibson shed 12 hits, the most against a Phillies pitcher since Aaron Harang allowed 12 hits on August 10, 2015, and has 9.68 ERA in his last four starts.

– Stott and Schwarber lost a fly ball in the twilight over left field to open the second half, beginning a two-round run that left Phillies on a 5-0 hole.

– After five straight hits against Jays Ross Strebling (six straight hits overall) directed the Phillies within 7-5 in the fifth inning, Bryce Harper killed the rally by doubling the second base on Stout’s streak to center field.

– At the top of sixth, Stott didn’t get on his feet and made a foul that helped Blue Jays bounce back.

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– The Phillies let in season highs in runs and hits (21) and left to put reserve catcher Garrett Stubbs on the hill to finish the ninth inning by tossing the fastball at 84 mph by Danny Jansen.

Do we need to continue?

It doesn’t really look good,” Thompson said. “So, we have to regroup and go back [Wednesday]Get some running, get the lead, and let those [pitchers] settle in.”

Harper said, “We are at the point where we need to win games. We are at a crucial stage of the season where we need to show up every night we play, no matter who is there or what happens. We are in a difficult stage now.”

For the second time in five weeks, quarterback Brandon Marsh hit his left knee while jumping for a ball against the wall.

Marsh tried to cut Jansen’s third in the second, but fell to the ground with his legs folded under him. He stayed in the match and hit the bottom of third before coming off with what Thompson described as a bruise.

Matt Ferling moved into center field, while Dalton Guthrie entered the game on the right and hit his first Homer in the Major League to start the race from four runs into the fifth.

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Schwarber became the eighth Velez player to hit forty players in one season with a three-game strike from a second-group encounter in the eighth inning.

Last Phillies player to have 40 players a season: Ryan Howard (45) in 2009. Schwarber is the first full-time Phillies player to reach 40 players since Chuck Cline, who hit 40 in 1930.

The GT Realmoto lost in every attack and dirty game by Velez, becoming the 23rd player in franchise history – and the first to lose since Harry Anderson in 1958 – to finish the match with at least five hits and run at home.

Realmuto also became the fifth Phillies catcher to post two 20 Homer seasons with the club, joining Mike Lieberthal, Darren Daulton, Stan Lopata and Andy Seminick.