Weekend baserunning blunders sum up the Phillies’ early problems on the basepaths

The Phillies have shown poor judgment on the basepaths this season and need to correct some fundamental mistakes.
Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Kyle Schwarber
Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Kyle Schwarber / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages

One of the issues that has plagued the Philadelphia Phillies through their first nine games is the basic mistakes when they have had baserunners. Being sloppy on the basepaths has resulted in outs and potentially not getting more runs.

The Phillies have made their share of errors in judgment on the basepaths. According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, as of Sunday, Philadelphia had made six outs on base this season, not counting pickoffs and failed stolen base attempts.

During the game against the Washington Nationals on Friday, Bryson Stott failed to tag up and advance from second to third on Brandon Marsh's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the top of the second inning. The second baseman scored on Kyle Schwarber's single. However, the infielder may have scored earlier if he had advanced to third on the sacrifice fly.

Another example of their baserunning gaffes was by Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto in the top of the third inning of the same contest. While Harper will always run hard and make the extra effort to advance on base, his approach backfired in this instance.

As Realmuto took off toward second, Patrick Corbin's throw to first baseman Joey Gallo led to a pickoff attempt. Harper, on third, decided to take a chance and advance toward home. Realmuto got to second base safely and started to advance to third with the defenders occupied with Harper.

Washington tagged out Harper in a rundown, and Realmuto narrowly got back to second safely. Second baseman Luis García Jr. was unable to secure the ball, which prevented what would have been a disastrous double play.

Schwarber also made a mistake during Sunday's game. The Nationals were able to get two outs when the designated hitter was unable to return to first safely following Harper's flyout to center fielder Jacob Young.

The 31-year-old, who was overeager to advance on the base paths, acknowledged his mistake following the 3-2 loss: "A totally bad read on my part. I wanted to get to third base there. By the time I realized it was going to get caught, I was just way too far off the base there. That’s got to get cleaned up by me.”

Phillies lead the majors in some unsavory categories

Not only do the Phillies lead the majors in being caught in non-stealing base attempts, but they also lead the league being caught stealing six times, according to Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Harper, Realmuto, Stott, Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, and Johan Rojas have all been thrown out once while attempting to steal a base so far after the three-game series versus the Nationals.

Per Seidman, shortstop Trea Turner commented on the team's recent fundamental errors along the basepaths, "Right now, we're a little out of sorts there, but I know we have an emphasis on it and we're going to work on it, talk about it, fix it and get to where we need to be."

"Know when to pick your spots and know when it's OK to make outs or when you can't afford to give them away," Turner added. "I think everyone [in] here is different, but just because you're a fast guy, slow or guy or anywhere in the middle, it doesn't mean you can't be a good baserunner. There's plenty of ways to get extra bases."

While the Phillies are not off to an outstanding start, their basic mental errors are arguably as concerning as their current record of 5-5. They'll look to improve that in their second game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.