Costly error puts magnifying glass on Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber problem

Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies. (Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports)
Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies. (Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports) /

Kyle Schwarber’s two-run error cost the Philadelphia Phillies the game, and the series, to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday afternoon.

Eventually, Bryce Harper will be healthy enough to play in the outfield again. In the meantime, the Philadelphia Phillies are just going to have to deal with whatever Kyle Schwarber does in left field.

In a critical game vs. the division-leading rival Atlanta Braves, Schwarber blew it in the worst moment possible. It was a glorious pitchers’ duel between Aaron Nola and Bryce Elder, one that went scoreless through nine innings. In the extra frame, Atlanta plated its first run before the madness ensued. Schwarber misjudging an Austin Riley fly ball cost the Phillies two crucial runs.

It was only exacerbated once Marcell Ozuna left the building on a two-run bomb moments later.

Yes, I will gladly take the Braves’ eighth win in a row, but I do understand how much this sucks for the Phillies right now. With Harper only just back from Tommy John surgery and not cleared to throw, Philadelphia is just going to have to make do, or trade for a better defensive option soon…

The Phillies are 38-36 on the year, but are now a full 10 games back of Atlanta in the NL East race.

Philadelphia Phillies have a Kyle Schwarber problem when it comes to defense

It often gets overlooked by larger, more pervasive issues, such as a leaky bullpen, a weak starting rotation or a batting order that struggles to hit balls over the fence, but having a defensive liability can also completely wreck a quality baseball team. You give a great team like the Braves an extra out, and they will make you pay for it. You commit more than two errors in a game, you are losing.

Look. I know that Schwarber is not a wizard with the glove and that his best attributes are his ability to do work in the batter’s box. However, with limited divisional games now with MLB adopting a new scheduling format so that everybody plays all 29 teams annually, losses like these are even more painful to endure. Philadelphia has to put this in the rearview mirror and move on.

While we have seen massive divisional leads evaporate before our very eyes before, the Phillies are probably going to have to get into the postseason now as one of three NL Wild Card teams. The good news is they were the third team in a year and ended up winning the pennant, bringing a swift end to a decade-long playoff draught. The bad news is the top half of the NL is very strong.

Although the Braves caught a huge break yesterday, the Phillies will have some decisions to make.

Next. Ranking every MLB team's front office from worst to first. dark