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Marlins struggle with errors against Phillies on humid Saturday evening

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The Marlins struggled to get their defense in check on a humid Saturday in Philadelphia as they took a 3-1 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies. Plus other notes from a live visit to Citizens Bank Park.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA - The Miami Marlins came to town to start the second half in a good way, but in their three-game set versus the Philadelphia Phillies, something always went wrong. On Friday night, it was Cole Gillespie's crucial late-game error in the outfield that opened the floodgates for an eventual loss. On Sunday afternoon, it was A.J. Ramos who could not hold the Phillies back as the opponents took it in walk-off fashion.

And on Saturday evening, on a sticky night in Philadelphia, the Marlins could not make the gloves stick as the team committed two sloppy errors and gave up a few concentrated hard-hit balls en route to the eventual 3-1 loss. While I took in the game live, the Fish were barely showing signs of life on the defensive side of the game. In the first inning, it was starter Tom Koehler who suffered through the struggles of what was shaping up to be a bad start. He gave up a single and a walk to put runners on first and third with one out. He then left a curveball hanging right in Ryan Howard's wheelhouse that allowed him to turn on a pitch and send it screaming to right center field for the first run of the game. Two batters later, Domonic Brown got a similar pitch and lined it just when Miami had a chance to get out of the inning, leaving them down 2-0 early.

It was the second inning that led to some ugly play, as the Fish gave up another run thanks to back-to-back errors. Cody Asche slapped a softly-hit grounder to the first base side that just sneaked past Koehler, and Martin Prado was forced to make a difficult move and play on a barehanded grab. He flipped it over to first baseman Justin Bour, who reached as high as his gigantic frame would allow but still could not corral the ball cleanly. One batter later, Koehler himself got in the act with an egregious toss high above Bour's head on a sacrifice bunt attempt by opposing starter Chad Billingsley. The Phillies grounded another runner home and took a 3-0 lead.

This would not have been a problem had Miami not found itself on the opposite side of the luck spectrum at the plate. The Fish collected ten hits but stranded eight runners throughout the game. Quite a few times, the team nailed balls nicely that ended up right in the hands of the Phillies' defense, which ranged far and wide that evening. Prado himself had three hits in four plate appearances, including two doubles, but could have had a perfect night had his first inning line drive not been caught on a run. Similarly, Christian Yelich was twice robbed on hard hit balls, including a drive to the deepest part of left-center field which was caught by Ben Revere on a great play.

Revere made that grab and held Prado at second base, preventing the runner from advancing, let alone scoring. This was a theme for much of the evening: hard-hit balls ending up in bad situations for Miami. Derek Dietrich smoked a double play grounder handled by Cesar Hernandez. Later on, after a J.T. Realmuto double, Cole Gillespie slammed a low-flying liner that Ryan Howard caught and quickly turned into a two-for.

In watching the game live, I got the sense that Chad Billingsley was not the least bit impressive in shutting out the Marlins through five innings. He gave up only four hits, but all of those hard-hit balls came off of his pitches, and the Phillies defense helped to bail out the oft-injured righty all night long.

Here are some notes from my visit and live view at Citizens Bank Park.

- I have not had the luxury to visit many parks, but CBP did not impress me. The old-timey brick-laden feel, when compared to more grandiose versions of the same design like PNC Park and Camden Yards, felt almost boring. It neither stood out like Marlins Park nor had the historical feel of the new Yankee Stadium. Aside from the center field shrubbery, it basically felt like a big circle of blue seating.

- That being said, I did enjoy my seat.

Lower level, row 26, right on the edge, with plenty of room on a sparsely-populated evening. We were close enough to the action that foul balls were definitely in play; one gentleman caught one one row behind me and about 15 seats to my right. Sadly, nothing came closer than that, but I was prepared all night.

- I couldn't say all night, because I had the awesome opportunity to watch four of the nine innings from an air-conditioned seat right behind Rich Waltz and Preston Wilson in the visitor's broadcast booth!

- I had gotten to finally meet Rich in person on an informal coffee run earlier in the day, and we spoke for about an hour about all things baseball. It was encouraging to hear his thoughts on introducing statistics to the Marlins broadcast, something that fans of this site would more than welcome. The key, as he put it, was to introduce the language in digestible ways so that his color commentator partners, often times the ornery old-schooler Tommy Hutton, could utilize. Bringing context to those numbers, such as discussing slugging percentage as a comparison to the league average, also would serve to help smarten up the broadcast and include both color guys and fans who are less knowledgeable about this side of the sport.

- We also talked about defense a lot, in particular defensive positioning and how it affects the stats of guys like Adeiny Hechavarria. Interestingly, Rich recalled a talk with infield coach Perry Hill in which Hill called Hechavarria's advanced numbers improving in large part due to trade of Nathan Eovaldi. Hill's argument was that Eovaldi often missed his spots at the plate and that caused the defensive positioning to be off the mark, which hurt the entire infield last year.

- I got to meet and chat with both Rich and Preston Wilson, who provided interesting insight for much of the time I was in the booth. I have to say that he is my preference for color commentators for the Marlins, over Hutton and Jeff Conine.

- They definitely dig around for things to discuss during games. Baseball-Reference was ready for use to dig up statistical trends.

- At the end of my time there, I got a picture taken with the broadcast team. It was definitely one of the highlights of my baseball fandom.

You can see how confused my hands were.

- After that, I headed down to my seat and got to chomp on a local delicacy: a Tony Luke's cheese steak, purchased from the stadium vendor itself.

It was filled with fried onions, steak, and delicious Provolone cheesy goodness. Well worth the $11 I spent.

- Speaking of prices, the seats over at CBP were very affordable. My location ran me $50, and in total with parking and taxes it was only $72. To be that close to field-side, I was very happy with my purchase. In fact, I could have gotten similar seating behind home plate for that price. My trip ran under $100 in the stadium, though expenses for the whole ordeal, including driving, extended that price. It was totally worth it, however, and I would recommend going to a Marlins game here if only for the affordability, if you were planning on making any trips of that nature.

Despite the heat and humidity and the Marlins' loss, the trip to Citizens Bank Park was a memorable experience for me. I want to thank Rich Waltz, Preston Wilson, and the rest of the broadcast team for letting me in and getting me my first experience inside the baseball media area. This pass is something that will stick with me for a long time.