Are “Curveball Machines” and Lineup Changes enough to save the Phillies season?

The Philadelphia Phillies have been grossly underachieving from the point of view of their fans this season. I agree with that sentiment. There was no one thinking to themselves that the Phillies were going to be a team just two games over .500 this season after acquiring Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, and JT Realmuto. Everyone, including myself, figured that the Phillies had it figured out this season. Especially when it was just last year, with a roster nowhere as talented as this one, the Phillies were considered to overachieve. However, overachieving aside, still not a playoff team. 2019 is the year that the Phillies were supposed to be electric and smooth sailing.

In the middle of an ugly run of losses, the heels of the Philadelphia Phillies were just coming off of a three-game losing effort sweep to the lowly Miami Marlins. If there were a time for the Phillies to come alive and take back some of those losses with wins, it was against the Marlins. Those wins never came and the Phillies were headed into action last night against their rivals, the New York Mets. Grasping for any straw of superstition or a new idea that can populate from the always positive demeanor sound bites of Gabe Kapler, the approach had to change for the Phillies to pick up a win. Kapler’s idea? Curveball machine.

This new approach of using a “curveball machine” to warm up the Philadelphia Phillies batters seems like a good change of pace, but not one that Bryce Harper will be taking part in. Harper scoffed, then stated, “For me, personally I don’t do that.” Baseball players have always been particular about their routines and Harper has gone on record to state that he needed to improve on seeing fastballs. For the surge of hitting and runs that took place against the New York Mets on Monday night, perhaps the “curveball machine” helped the players in the dugout. On the other hand, Steven Matz is just a pitcher that the Phillies are known to knock around the ballpark.

Bryce Harper hit two doubles and had 2 RBI

I was at the game at Citizens Bank Park on April 16th, 2019 when the Philadelphia Phillies smashed the Mets, 14-3. Steven Matz was the pitcher that evening for the Mets against Nick Pivetta and the Phillies. That night, Matz pitched a whopping 0.0 complete innings in a start. It was the first time I’ve ever witnessed anything like it. A performance so poor by a starting pitcher that half of an inning wasn’t completed. Of 10 first-inning runs by the Phillies, eight were earned against Matz. JT Realmuto, Scott Kingery, and Maikel Franco drove in those runs to embarrass the Mets early on. Realmuto, Kingery, and Franco are also healthy and available in today’s lineup, so what is the hold up with scoring for the Phillies?

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