The Phillies looked a lot more like the first half team we were watching than the 2nd. Hey, they actually got a win against the Mets and they aren’t the Braves so I guess it wasn’t ALL bad, right?
It was a mixed bag for the offense this week. They scored at least 4 runs in 3 games and won just one. They scored a combined 5 runs in the other 3 games. Ryan Howard came up small in a big spot once again proving to Pete Mackanin that he is no longer a clutch player, something I’m pretty sure Charlie and Ryne had figured out before their tenures ended. One bright spot that has come out of the last few weeks is Odubel Herrera, who has upped his average to .302 proving that the Phils got another Rule 5 guy right. Darin Ruf also had a 6 RBI game to help finally stifle the Mets on Tuesday. I guess we shouldn’t forget Erik Kratz’s whopping .400 average either.
It wasn’t a banner week for the future of the pitching staff. Whether it was Aaron Nola, Alec Asher, Jared Eickhoff or Adam Morgan, there wasn’t a lot to be excited about as the Phils allowed an average of 7 runs per game during the week. There are a few aspects that contributed to the trouble the staff had this week. Teams are getting film on them, they had to face some pretty good offenses, the bright lights of playing in an iconic ballpark oh, and Dom Brown was playing defense behind them. The youth is going to take some lumps, but how they react over the last few weeks will be a big aspect in determining what the Phillies have in their future.
Around the N.L. East
Mets– For the first time in a while, the Mets actually lost some ground to the Nats. After beating up on the Phils yet again, the Mets went into Miami and lost 2 of 3 to the Marlins. Those losses allowed the Nats to sneak to within 4 games. As I mentioned before, there is a lot of talk about the playoffs and who will/won’t pitch up in New York. Despite their current placement at the top of the East, they are still looking up at teams like Pittsburgh and Chicago should they fall out of first. They may want to focus on the job at hand before they get too focused on the future. With 3 games against the Nationals and 4 against the sinking Braves, this week could help the Mets seal the deal in the East.
Nationals– After a rough start against the Cardinals, the Nats took game 3 of that series and then went home and trounced the Braves in 4 straight. Combined with the Mets losses in Miami, the Nats gained a game and a half to crawl within 4 games with a big series against the Mets this week. Once they finish with the Mets, they will go into Miami for 3. If they can find a way to gain some more ground this week, the final 2 weeks (including the final series of the season) should be fun to watch, even if you hate both teams.
Marlins– The Fish are 18.5 back and have moved into 3rd in the division (for whatever that is worth). They are still doing their best to inject themselves into the playoff race anyway. After sweeping out the Braves and taking 2 of 3 from the Mets, the Marlins will get their shot at the Nationals this week. After a 3 game set with the Brewers, they will go into Washington for 3 and get their shot to slow down the Nats playoff hopes.
Braves– The Braves have lost 10 straight and are injecting themselves into the race for the #1 pick. This week will be a great opportunity for them to increase their chances. With 3 games against the Phils and 4 with the Mets, the Braves are certainly doing their best to find their way into that #1 slot.
The Phils are in an interesting spot this week. With the Braves coming to town, the Phils will have a chance to climb out of the cellar but that will obviously hinder their draft position. The Cubs coming in to town for 4 may be the remedy for that though. It will also be an interesting week to see if the young arms can rebound after a tough week. The next few weeks will prove interesting no matter which way it goes.