The beginning of the West Coast swing did not treat the Phils kindly but they finished on a high note. After a sweep in San Diego, the Giants ruined Aaron Nola’s streak of dominance in game one and trounced Zach Eflin in game 2. Ty Kelly had another clutch at bat in game 3 as the Phils pulled out the win in a game 3 slug-fest and Adam Morgan recorded his 2nd straight win thanks to an 8th inning rally from Rhys Hoskins and Pedro Florimon to split the series.
Rhys Hoskins made a significant case to supplant Tommy Joseph at 1B, who did nothing (0-14) to prove he deserves to stay. Hoskins had 8 hits on the trip including 5 HR’s and 9 RBI. Things got so bad for Joseph that Pete Mackanin even gave Jorge Alfaro a start at first. Alfaro contributed 5 hits in his 4 starts. Journeyman Pedro Florimon got the call up due to Odubel Herrera’s injury and so far has taken advantage of his opportunity. Florimon had 3 hits and 4 RBI in his 4 starts and also gunned down Buster Posey at the plate on Sunday. Meanwhile, it was a slow week for the everyday starters. Cesar Hernandez (4-27), Nick Williams (6-24) and Maikel Franco (5-21) joined Joseph in his slump although not to the same magnitude. Meanwhile, Hoskins also taught the team (hopefully) a lesson on plate discipline. It’s likely no coincidence that Hoskins had 5 walks the same week that he had 5 HR’s. Meanwhile, the rest of the team manages just 8 walks combined. Over the next month or so, it certainly appears that as the young guys go, so go the Phils.
It was not exactly a week worth writing home (or online) about from the rotation or the bullpen. With the exception of Ben Lively’s outing on Sunday (6 IP, 2 R), the rotation fell flat on the West Coast. The bullpen had flashes however. Adam Morgan appeared 3 times and shut down his opponents, earning 2 wins in the process. Luis Garcia, Hoby Milner and Jesen Therrien all pitched at least 3 outings as well without allowing a run. Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos were on the opposite end of that spectrum allowing 3 and 5 runs respectively in 6 combined innings. The rotation will need to get back on track in the last month if Phils management is going to stick with what they have or allocate some of their deep pocket money to the rotation.
Around the N.L. East
Nationals– The Nats split a tight 2 game set with the Angels at home before heading west to take on the Padres. They won 3 of 4 in San Diego by allowing more than 1 run just once (their only loss). While the Padres aren’t the ’27 Yankees, that’s still an impressive piece of work over 4 games. Their road home will get a bit tougher with a stop in Houston for 3 games. The Astros are the 2nd best team in baseball but have just 2 more wins than the Nats at this point. The Nats will return home for a 4 game set with the Mets that will have no impact at this point. The Nats are a lock in the East at this point and have an 8 game lead on the Cubs for 2nd in the N.L. with virtually no chance of catching the Dodgers.
Marlins– The Marlins took 2 of 3 at home vs. the Giants before heading to New York and taking 2 of 3 from the Mets. No one cares! For the next month and a half or so, the Fish will now be known as the Miami Giancarlo Stanton’s as his run towards 61 is all that people will be watching (yeah yeah, 73..blah blah blah). With 40 games left, who knows. Oh, and of those 40 games, 7 are at Citizen’s Bank Park. That should account for at least 5. Four of thsoe games are this week as that’s where the MGS’s will start the week before heading home to take on the Padres for 3. This should be fun to watch.
Braves– The Braves finished their road trip in Colorado splitting a 4 game set with the Rockies. After returning home, the Reds greeted them with 2 straight wins before the Braves scrapped out a win on Sunday. The Mariners and Rockies come to Atlanta for 3 games each this week as the Braves look to make it through the debacle that has been their 2nd half.
Mets– Well, we know who dominates New York (as if we didn’t already). The Mets got swept out of the 4 game Subway Series before the Marlins came to town and took 2 of 3 to cap off a 1-6 week. This week doesn’t get any easier with 8 games in 7 days. The D-backs come to town for a 4 game set before the Mets head to Washington for another 4 games ending with a doubleheader on Sunday. The Mets are in an August swoon but with their rotation, they can always swing the other way but they are dead in the water at this point so some of those starters getting an early break is likely not out of the question based on all the injuries the Mets have incurred this season.
Well, with the MGS’s coming to town for 4 games, at least there may be a few more seats filled at CBP this week. Although their next series here in early September may be more of note. The Cubs come into town for 3 after that looking to gain ground on the Nats and the Phils will have to try and play spoiler. With 40 games remaining, it’s time to keep an eye on the youth. That doesn’t end just up here either. Eyes will still be focused down in Lehigh at guys like J.P Crawford (most recently taking reps at third) and Scott Kingery as September call-ups loom and the big club starters sputter. Hey, it’s something to watch.