Odubel Herrera stood at first base Saturday afternoon with his hands on his hips knowing all too well what his fate would be when the umpires removed their headsets.
He was out after a baserunning gaffe and a seventh-inning rally against one of baseball's elite pitchers ended almost as quickly as it started. Herrera beat out a would-be double-play ball but turned toward second after sprinting through first base. The Mets retrieved the errant throw that Herrera beat and fired to first to tag him as he slid back to the bag.
The Phillies, after an umpire review, were another inning closer to a 3-1 loss.
"It was pretty cut and dry," Gabe Kapler said.
And as the Phillies stand just six weeks from the end of the regular season, something else is also becoming pretty cut and dry: It's time to sit Herrera and give Roman Quinn a chance in an expanded role.
Games like Saturday — when Jake deGrom is dealing — are played with razor-thin margins. Outs can not be given away, especially outs that end rallies. A baserunning mistake like Herrera's could perhaps be a bit more forgivable if the Phillies were not fighting for a playoff spot. And it could certainly be easier to live with if Herrera was not batting .232 with a .685 OPS in 270 plate appearances since June 1.
>> READ MORE: Phillies fall to Jake deGrom, Mets
Herrera is not producing the way he did in the first two months of the season. Once the team's catalyst, Herrera has instead been an albatross on the lineup and his struggles have bumped him to either sixth or seventh for his last 10 games after batting third for the majority of the season. The next move could be to the bench.
Kapler, when asked if he would give Quinn additional playing time, was non-committal. Quinn is the team's fastest runner, can play a dependable center field, has a strong arm, and can hit for a surprising amount of power despite being just 5-foot-10. He's been Kapler's first hitter off the bench since being promoted from triple A. And he's earned more than that. The Phillies will look "for opportunities to start him," the manager said while also using "him as a weapon off the bench."
"Whatever Gabe needs me to do, I'm going to do to the best of my ability," Quinn said.
Kapler met with Herrera after the loss and reminded the centerfielder how he is expected to perform on the base paths. Run hard through the first-base bag, slow down, and then find the baseball, Kapler said. Herrera moved toward second base before finding the baseball and he paid for it.
"Another thing that I chatted with Odubel about there was when he's at his best, he looks like the most confident dude on the field," Kapler said. "There's an incredible amount of swagger both in center field and at the plate. What I think we've seen is a little bit more in between. Maybe not the same level of confidence and swagger. I said sometimes the confidence comes before the success and you have to wear the confidence a little bit. That takes a little bit of practice. It's not something that's necessarily acquired right away. You kind of have to focus on it. I think we're going to see that from him."
Herrera agreed. He feels like he's struggling, believing his problems at the plate are a timing-correction away from being righted. His baserunning mistake was frustrating, Herrera said. He knew he turned towards second base. It was another disappointing day for Herrera in a summer filled with them.
"The manager is absolutely right about that. I need to get my confidence back," Herrera said. "Start playing the same way I've been playing the last two, three years. That's what I'm all about."