April showers may bring May flowers, but nothing sweet-smelling bloomed in May for the Philadelphia Phillies. After going 13-13 in April, the Phillies finished May with a disappointing 12-16 record. Between injuries of varying degrees and subpar performances, it’s been difficult to be a Phillies fan.
June, however, started on a different note. After being blown out the night before, the Phillies slugged seven homers against the Cincinnati Reds en route to a 17-4 victory. Including myself for a time, some thought that this was the victory the Phillies need to get the ship sailing. Instead, the ship may have sunk even before leaving port.
Even though it’s only early June, two major obstacles could prevent the Phillies from trying to sniff the postseason for the first time in 10 years.
The New York Mets
For the past 10 years, there’s been one motto I’ve chosen to live by: The Mets are gonna Met. Even if the Mets were doing better than the Phillies, they’d find a way to feel like they were worse.
Losing the 2015 World Series, Matt Harvey becoming irrelevant, the Wilpons, Jacob deGrom never having more than 15 wins, hiring a manager who quickly got wrapped up in a cheating scandal, and then hiring a General Manager who got wrapped up in a sexual harassment scandal, the Mets have done it all in 6 years.
A problem seems to be arising with that motto, however.
The Mets have won 6 out of their last 9 games all without the following grocery list of players.
It’s been the Mets rotation that has stood out and propelled them into first in the NL East. None of their top 3 starters have an ERA over 2.66. Jacob deGrom has a 0.71 ERA, Taijuan Walker has a 2.17, and Marcus Stroman has a 2.66.
Once the Mets are even remotely heathy, the Braves will become a worry of the past.
Oh, and their owner Steve Cohen is the richest in all of baseball.
Former Phillies Manager Gabe Kapler And The Giants
Remember making fun of Phillies’ former manager Gabe Kapler for not warming up a reliever or coconut oil? His current team, the Giants, are 36-21 and in first place in the NL West. You know, the one with the Padres and the Dodgers.
In an ordinary year, the Phillies could have a solid chance at reaching a Wild Card. With the unexpected emergence of the Giants, it’s almost a fait accompli that the 2 Wild Cards will be filled by said Padres and Dodgers.
When you hear how the Giants have succeeded, you’ll want to scream into the void out of shear frustration.
Their 3 top hitters are all over the age of 34. Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey are both 34 and have a 145 and 173 OPS+, respectfully. Evan Longoria is 35 and has an OPS+ of 143. THIS ISN’T NORMAL. Don’t forget that DARIN RUF, who is currently injured, had a 147 OPS+ and did this against the Phillies.
In their rotation, 35-year-old Johnny Cueto has a 3.45 ERA and that isn’t even the craziest part. Baltimore Oriole and Atlanta Brave castoff Kevin Gausman IS 6-0 WITH A 1.40 ERA WHICH IS JUST RIDICULOUS. His best full-season ERA, 3.52, CAME 7 YEARS AGO. THIS ISN’T NORMAL.
The Giants could very possibly come crashing to Earth come July or August. For right now, they make the Phillies’ playoff possibility near 0.
Oh, and let’s not forget all of the Phillies’ mental mistakes, making this much worse…
Photo Credit: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire