As if the losing wasn’t enough. First Maikel Franco went down (though he could be back soon) and now, Cesar Hernandez. With just 2 weeks left, the Phils have 2 things to look forward to, avoiding the 100 loss mark and still getting that number 1 pick.
The bats were silent most of the week. Even in their wins, they tended to bunch their runs together. With Hernandez going down for the remainder of the season, things will get that much tougher. About the only thing worth watching offensively is whether Odubel Herrera can finish strong and end up over the .300 mark. Sitting at .299 with 2 weeks to go, that would be a big accomplishment for the Rule 5 centerfielder. The highlight of this week was Code Asche’s walk off shot on Saturday. It was probably the most interesting moment of the week considering his less-than-stellar season as well as the fact that his one an only walk off HR prior to that came exactly 1 year earlier, to the day.
Has David Buchanan been cut yet? With the exception of Aaron Nola’s 7 inning masterpiece on Tuesday, it was not a great week for the Phillies rotation or bullpen (Ken Giles excluded). The non-Nola young’ens, Jared Eickhoff, Adam Morgan and Alec Asher did not have great outings. Asher has yet to record a win since his call up. The bullpen had it’s issues as well but did collect 2 wins and Giles, 2 more saves. That’s 13 since taking over for the departed Jonathon Papelbon, who has just 6 with the Nats. The highlight was Nola’s performance which earned him his 6th win and amazingly, ties him for the team lead with Cole Hamels and Giles in just 10 starts. There are signs of hope for the future but we’re seeing signs as well that there is still work to do.
Around the N.L. East
Mets– After back to back sweeps of the Nats and Braves (7 wins), the Mets now lead the Nats by 9.5 and I’m officially calling this one. Mets, you may officially start the playoff talk. Early on, the pitching was carrying the Mets but the offense has caught up in the 2nd half and this team could be a contender when October rolls around. With Miami and the Yankees on their plate this week, the Mets can not only pad their lead but do some damage to the Yankees playoff picture.
Nationals– At least they have Bryce Harper still…luckily, after taking a shot to the head on Sunday. The Mets took all 3 games from them and with it, their hearts. After getting swept by the Mets, they went to Miami and dropped the first 2 before finally getting a win on Sunday. Not only did they choke up the division they were expected to run away with, they are even farther out of the Wild Card picture. Oh, and Jonathan Papelbon took a loss (HA!). The Nats will come into Citizens Bank Park for 3 games before heading home for 4 against Miami and are playing essentially for whatever pride they may still have left.
Marlins– The Fish are 8-3 in September and showing signs of promise for the future. They also helped to put the final nail ion the Nats coffin. After losing their opener to the Brewers, they won 4 straight before getting blanked by the Braves on Sunday. They’ll go into New York for 3 with the Mets then play another 4 with the Nationals this week.
Braves– After losing 2 of 3 to the Phils and 4 straight to the Mets, the Braves have found themselves tied with the Phils for the worst record in baseball. This may be the week where they find themselves overtaking the Phils for that position. With 3 games against one of the best teams in baseball, the Blue Jays and then 3 with the Phils, Atlanta could find themselves scouting that top pick a little harder come next week.
The Phils will take on the Nats and Braves for 3 each this week. It’s hard to believe but the Braves probably have more to play (and lose) for this week. They have no real vested interest in winning at this point. The Phillies may actually have an interest in sticking it to Papelbon and the Nats although I think losing big without giving Paps a save opportunity is good enough for me. The Phils need to win 7 of their last 18 to avoid the 100 loss mark, they could potentially get a handful of those this week.