A lack of oversight hours before Tuesday night’s game almost cost the Phillies a win. In the seventh inning, right-hander Enyel De Los Santos emerged from the bullpen for his first big-league outing since the Phillies re-selected his contract.
To get De Los Santos on the active roster, the Phillies optioned left-hander Cristopher Sánchez to Triple-A. Somehow, Sánchez’s name was still on the lineup card the umpires had. Sánchez threw two scoreless innings for Lehigh Valley that same night. De Los Santos’ outing ended as soon as it began.
The process of exchanging the lineup card isn’t as simple as handing a piece of paper over. Before teams can release the batting order to the media, teams must submit their lineup card to the Commissioner’s Office. This is to prevent club officials from leaking information to gamblers prior to the starting lineup being made public.
When the Commissioner’s Office approves the lineup, the league sends the lineup cards back and tasks the clubs with printing out the lineup for the opposing team as well as the umpires. The league sent back an umpire’s lineup card with Sánchez on it and De Los Santos off. Both Girardi and bench coach Rob Thomson failed to catch the league’s error. Brewers manager Craig Counsell said postgame that he had the correct lineup card on him.
“We missed it,” Girardi said. “It’s happened — it’s still no excuse — but it’s happened to other team’s where the player doesn’t get on the card for whatever reason, you know. It’s just stupid on my part.”
Counsell can empathize with Girardi’s gaffe because it happened to him three weeks ago. Ángel Perdomo, who had just been called up from the Brewers’ alternate site, was scheduled to pitch in the ninth inning of an eventual 6-3 win against the Cubs on April 12, but the umpires did not have Perdomo listed on their lineup card.
“Honestly, I kind of thought that the system needed to change a little bit,” Counsell told the Milwaukee media postgame. “We actually had the correct card, but somehow, the umpires didn’t.”
Since De Los Santos was unable to take the mound, David Hale, who has allowed six earned runs and six inherited runners to score over 12 1/3 innings prior to Tuesday, was tasked with getting three important outs. He left the inning with a run in and runners on the corner and the Phillies escaped the top of the seventh with a narrow one-run lead.
The 33-year-old was kept on the roster over other options out of spring training to provide length out of the pen in low-leverage situations, but his four previous outings prior to Tuesday’s game came either in a tie game or the Phillies within one run.
A combination of injuries, suspensions, a lack of days off, offensive struggles as well as Girardi’s own struggles with managing his relievers has led to Hale pitching in spots he shouldn’t be in. The Phillies were able to add De Los Santos to the 40-man roster because Ronald Torreyes (COVID-IL) does not count towards the limit. The team will need to make a move once the Phillies infielder returns from his rehab assignment in Lehigh Valley and with De Los Santos on the roster, Hale’s days in the organization could be numbered.
For now, Girardi has to reflect on the fact that the season is barely a month old and he has multiple embarrassing mental errors to his name. In Atlanta, Girardi was forced to take Zack Wheeler out of a ballgame in the middle of a count because he didn’t recognize that pitching coach Caleb Cotham already went to the mound that inning. He told the media after the game that he screwed up.
A couple of weeks later in St. Louis, Girardi’s decision to walk Cardinals’ eight-hole hitter Edmundo Sosa in favor of pitching to pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter cost the Phillies the game. The loss was on him, according to Girardi.
“I’m livid with myself,” Girardi said Tuesday.
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