As bad as last year was, I don’t remember a week where the team was beaten up as bad as the Phillies were this past week. After starting the week with a 7-0 win up in Toronto, the Phils managed to lose the next six by a combined score of 50-11. The offense is as bad as it’s been all season and the pitching is catching up. Now 13 games out of first place in the East, they are starting to look a lot more like last seasons team and a lot more like what most expected this year.
Simply put, there is none. Odubel Herrera is still hitting over .300 (barely) but the next best average on teh team belongs to Cameron Rupp at just .265. Tommy Joseph has dropped to .240 after a 1-23 week and Maikel Franco is swinging at everything in the same zip code as Citizens Bank Park. It’s tough not to make major changes to the roster or lineup but ultimately, this is what needs to happen to get this team back to where they need to be and to see just who has what it takes.
Until this point in the season, it was easy to find good things to say in this section. As of late, that’s not the case. The wins leader (Vince Velasquez) with just 5 wins. The ERA leader (Jerad Eikhoff) has a 3.49 ERA and a 4-9 record. At least Jeanmar Gomez is still among the save leaders. Too bad he may not get another chance this season.
Around the N.L. East
Nationals– Things started off well for Washington by taking 2 of 3 from the NL leading Cubs. After traveling to the West Coast, they took the first 2 against he Padres as well and were rolling. Then the weekend happened and they lost the next 2 games.Despite the losses, they still have a 5.5 game lead over the Marlins and are in firm control. With 3 against the Dodgers followed by 3 with the Brewers, this week looks similar to last week with a tough start and what should be an easier finish.
Marlins– Looking at what was upcoming this past week, the Marlins knew they had an opportunity. They took full advantage taking 2 of 3 from San Diego then sweeping the first 3 of a 4 game set from the Rockies. The hot streak helped them gain 1.g games on the Nats and jump over the Mets into 2nd place. Their week will start with one more against the Rockies followed by 2 with the cellar dwelling Braves before it gets a lot tougher when t hey see the Cubs come to Miami for a four game set. They’ll need to start the week off well and hope to have some success with the Cubs to try and keep pace with Washington.
Mets– Much like Miami, the Mets looked at this week as an opportunity. They expected the Pirates to be tough but had a great opportunity with the Braves. They were clearly looking at things backwards. They took 2 of 3 from the Pirates to start the week on a good note but then found themselves getting swept by the Braves by a combined 15-4 score. The weekend sweep allowed the Fish to leapfrog them in the standings and they managed to lose a.5 games in the standings. They have another chance this week as they have a quick 2 game set with the Royals before travelling to Atlanta for a 4 game set and payback on their minds.
Braves– Things did not start well as Cincinnati took the first 2 games of their series. Then something happened that most teams have experienced…a winning streak. The Braves took the next 2 from Cincy before their sweep of the Mets. Thanks to the 5 game streak, the Braves actually gained ground in the standings. It won’t take them anywhere (they are still 19.5 back) but it certainly has to help a team who has struggled badly all season. With a quick 2 game set in Miami followed by 4 against the Mets at home, this could be a week to build more confidence or they could see things go backwards again against 2 teams chasing the division lead.
The Phils will finish off their 4 game series with the D-Backs on Monday then travel to Minnesota and San Francisco for 3 games each. The Twins are one of the wort teams in baseball so the Phils may have an opportunity to get some wins under their belt and get off their current skid. The Giants, not so much. With 44 wins, they are one of the best teams in the majors and will pose a major obstacle for getting back on the straight and narrow. As the midway point of the season nears, things are not heading in the right direction. While there are no delusions about jumping back to where they were in April or early May, the Phils have to Focus on getting back to fundamentals and making things happen. It’s time to grow more than it’s time to win but a few W’s never hurt either.