The Phillies suffered a two-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox this weekend. Losing Saturday’s game 2-1 and Sunday’s game 6-3. In doing so they are now 4.5 games out of the second wild-card spot. Their remaining schedule doesn’t help as the teams they play still have something to play for.
The Phillies start an 11 game road trip Tuesday night in Atlanta. The Braves trail the Dodgers by 4 games for home-field advantage. Although it may be a bit of a long shot to overtake the Dodgers, the Braves still have hope to win that home-field advantage.
The Phillies then travel to Cleveland, who are a game and a half out of the American League wildcard. Cleveland will most likely be in a must-win situation.
The final four games of the road trip and is in Washington. The Nationals are sitting in the first wild card spot. They also sit 2 1/2 games above the teams chasing them for the second wild-card spot. Certainly it is not locked. Also as they sit only 1 1/2 games above the Cubs. Washington will want to win and clinch home-field advantage for the one-game playoff.
The Phils finish off their season with the Marlins, which by the way they played, may as well be the Dodgers.
Pitching woes continue
The Phillies lost the last five games that they ace Aaron Nola started. Hector Neris gave up the go-ahead run in the 9th inning of Nola’s last start. Jason Vargas has pitched 6 innings in his last two outings. Drew Smyly gave up 3 earned runs in 4 innings in his last start and Zack Eflin lasted only 3.2 innings in his last outing.
In the Last 6 games, Phillies Starters only pitched 26.2 innings. That’s an average just over 4 innings per start. This is not a good number. Relief pitchers threw 27.1 innings for the bullpen. Ideally, the Bullpen would have only had to throw 18 innings.
The Hitting hasn’t been helping
The pitching can’t be the only ones held responsible. The hitting all but disappeared during the last 6 games. After Cesar Hernandez, Corey Dickerson Phil Gosselin, and Rhys Hoskins, none of the Phillies batters have hit over .220 for that stretch.
Speaking of Gosselin. Can someone explain how this guy is the Phillies leader in pinch hits for the season? He was sent down to the minors in June! How is it possible that the roster we have was unable to produce pinch hits, and why wasn’t Gosselin called back up sooner? He only hit .314 in AAA.
J.T Realmuto and Scott Kingery were the worse of the everyday players hitting .174 and .105 respectively.
Then there is the curious case of Adam Haseley, who only got 14 plate appearances in 6 games? What is Gabe Kapler’s issue with Haseley? Why in a preseason race does Kapler continue to tinker with the lineup to get Minor leave players like Maikel Franco and Jose Pirela starts in Haseley’s stead? I feel like a broken record with this, however, I have to point out Kapler’s refusal to trust the young player.
Umpires need to be better and have thicker skin
I get it, you can’t argue strikes. However, the umpires calling balls and strikes have been awful this season. I am not sure if it is that I am paying more attention or the superimposed strike zone. Maybe it’s a combination of the two, but almost every game I fell the umpires’ performance is continuing to lobby for the computerized strike zone.
The umpires not only have been bad. I feel that the umpires need to let comments or “arguing” strikes roll off their backs. Unlike other sports where the officials can assess a penalty, umpires have only one move and that is to eject a player. To toss one of the best players on a team for a comment like “That wasn’t ‘bleeping’ close” is nothing but a power move. As we saw a few weeks ago when Rhys Hoskins was ejected, the umpire said the reason was “you can’t talk to me like that.” It’s time for the umpires to grow up, get a thicker skin and to adapt to the times
Regardless of the horrible umpires and bad overall play of the Phillies, they just weren’t good enough. John Middleton has a few decisions to make. The Phillies Leadership needs to be going to the offseason drawing table. Their list should be something like this: GET PITCHING, and re-sign Realmuto.
Matt is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a degree in Journalism. After College he was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army where he was an Airborne Ranger and served with the famed 101st Airborne Division. RAKKASAN! When not at work you can find him coaching his son and daughter’s sports teams. Follow Matt, AKA the Delco Dope on twitter at https://twitter.com/delco_dope