As the eternity that has been the 2015 Phillies season comes to a close, the Phils are creeping towards 100 losses but still playing. With 6 games to go against division opponents, pride is a motivating factor.
The week started well putting up a 6-2 win against the Marlins before hitting a 2 game rut. Then they went into Washington and put up 22 runs in 3 games to add more salt to the wounds of the Nationals as they watched the Nats playoff hopes officially end on Saturday. Capping off the week was an 8 run ninth inning on Sunday complete with after another Phillie (Andres Blanco) getting their chance to take Jonathan Papelbon deep and hand him another loss. The Phils have shown the spark of having some offensive talent but at the same time showed how hit or miss it can be putting up just one run on Saturday between their 8 and 12 run outputs. With 6 games left, the young kids will have 1 week to leave a lasting impression before they meet in Florida in the spring.
With just one more outing remaining, the Phils decided to shut down their young pitching star, Aaron Nola. He was able to go out on a pretty strong note shutting out Washington in his final 5 innings of the season Saturday before the bullpen handed the Nats the 2 runs they needed in the 6th and 12th innings. Jared Eickhoff and Alec Asher also had quality outings during the week. The Phillies hope the trio can be a key component of the staff for the next handful of years. Thursday was Asher’s best outing in a Phillies uniform giving up just 3 hits and 1 run in 7 innings. Eickhoff game up just 5 hits and 2 runs in 7 innings on Friday. The staff has shown promise but will need to pick up where they left off down in Clearwater.
Around the N.L. East
Mets– The Mets finished the week winning 4 straight including the division clincher on Saturday. Now as they head into the playoffs, they will likely save their young arms and set their rotation up for the postseason. With their offense clicking in the 2nd half of the season after the pitching carried them in the first half, they are likely hoping this is when everything comes together. With 3 at Citizens Bank Park and the with the Nats at home, the Mets will hope to just roll into the postseason as healthy as possible.
Nationals– From a World Series favorite before the season to a team that sits just 3 games over .500 with 6 to go. That’s the story of the Washington Nationals 2015 season. Over the course of the penultimate week of the season, the highlights for the Nats consisted mostly of infighting. After losing 5 of 6 to the Orioles and Phillies, the baseball world got two showings of the Bryce Harper-Jonathan Paplebon show. First, Harper threw a subtle jab to the press after Paps was ejected for throwing at Manny Machado of the O’s, then they got in an actual fight in the dugout on Sunday just before Paps coughed up the game. As they play out the final week (1 with the Reds and 3 each at Atlanta and the Mets) with no hope for the playoffs, we can only hope that one of them goes postal for our viewing enjoyment.
Marlins– The Fish had another hot week winning 5 of 6. They’ve had a few of these weeks in the 2nd half but it was too little too late after a rough first half. As they finish things out in Tampa and Philly this week, they will look to the offseason and getting Giancarlo Stanton back next year, they will think about what might have been and what may be next year.
Braves– Despite being a sinking ship the entire 2nd half, the Braves couldn’t sink enough to catch the Phillies. After losing 4 of 6 to the Mets and Marlins, the Braves still sit 3 games up with 6 to go. I’m sure after this week, they will settle for the 2nd pick. With 3 each with the Nationals and Cardinals, an 0-6 swoon wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility but I wouldn’t count on them catching up (or is it down) with the Phils.
The Phils have 6 games at home with the Mets and Marlins. With the lure of the 1st overall pick in the draft battling with the desire to avoid the 100 loss mark, it may be an interesting week to watch.