When things go bad, they seem to go really bad for this Phillies team. Recapping an 0-6 week should be pretty straight forward. Both the division leading Nationals and the bottom-dwelling Braves both came in to Citizens Bank Park and handed the Phils a trio of losses each. None of the games were really blowouts but that just adds to the disappointment factor. Minimal offense and some poor defense “highlighted” the week which saw the Phils get closer in the standings to the Braves than the Nationals.
11 runs in 6 games, book-ended by 2 shutouts is just another reason that fans will be clamoring for a few big name call-ups. With the R-Phils and Iron Pigs starting playoffs though, that’s likely at least a week away though, maybe more. Pete Mackanin will want to get a look at the future as well and with most of the current offense struggling as much as they are. There have been rumors that some of the bigger names like Nick Williams may not get called up at all but if they do, you have to think, they’ll get plenty of time when they get here.
After an 0-6 week, it seems strange to say the pitching wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t. The Phils held their opponents to an average of just over 4 runs per game which is not terrible if you have any semblance of offense to back it up. Two pitchers, Vince Velasquez and Jake Thompson, managed to go 7 innings over the weekend conceding 3 and 1 runs respectively. With little help from the offense or bullpen, neither was able to get a win. For Velasquez, it was his last outing of the year as the Phils management has wisely decided to shut down the converted reliever. Jerad Eickhoff, Jeremy Hellickson and Adam Morgan nearly matched those #’s going at least 6 innings each and holding their opponents to 3, 4 and 2 runs respectively. Every pitcher did enough to get the wins but got no help. The bullpen didn’t do them any favors taking the losses in 2 of the Atlanta games. With Velasquez being shut down, the rotation will look a little different this week. The Phils haven’t yet announced who will take his spot this week but we’ll know soon enough.
Around the N.L. East
Nationals– After sweeping out the Phils, the Nats went into New York and took the first of a 3 game set with the Mets. Their offense let them down in the next 2 however as they were able to plate just one run in each of the games on the weekend. All in all, the Nats were able to increase their division lead over the rest of the division except for the afterthought Braves. They’ll have an opportunity to remedy that issue as they open a 3 game set with Atlanta at home on Monday. When Atlanta leaves, the Phils will come into town for 4. The Nats will be hoping to take care of business against two of the worst teams in the majors and use this week to finally put the division to bed this week.
Mets– The Mets did everything they could to try and gain ground on the Braves but in the end, it wasn’t enough. After taking the first 3 in a 4 game set with the Marlins, the Mets lost the last game and followed that up with a loss to the Nats in their series opener. They turned it back on for the weekend though as they swept the weekend over the Nats and ended the week 5-2. It wasn’t enough though as they actually ended up losing a 1/2 game in the standings and now sit 8.5 games back. With only 3 games remaining against the Nats this season, the Mets will need to take care of business mostly against the rest of the division. The’ll start things off this week with 3 games in Cincinnati before heading to Atlanta for 3. With just 25 games left, their margin for error is pretty small. they’ll need to string wins together to get back in the race. The Mets are chasing the Wild card as well with a much better opportunity. They are currently a game and a half behind the front-running Giants and a game behind the Cards for the 2nd spot.
Marlins– The Marlins all but eliminated themselves from the division race after a 1-6 week. After the Mets took 3 of 4, the Indians got the sweep to wrap up the week and drop the Marlins to 11.5 back of the Nationals. While they are all but done in the division, they are still just 4 games back in the Wild Card. Another week similar to this past stretch should eliminate them from that run as well. After a rough road trip, the Marlins will head back home for the week. First up is the Phillies for 3, followed by 3 with the West-leading Dodgers. They’ll need a run to keep themselves alive.
Braves– The Braves had a huge week…or as huge as a team battling for the #1 draft pick can have. After sweeping the Padres, the Braves came into CBP and handed the Phils the same results. After going 6-0, scoring 40 runs in the stretch, the Braves still sit 25.5 back and are battling for that draft pick. Another week like this could actually hinder the one opportunity they have. The Nats, who have won 5 of their last 7 against the Braves should help remedy that situation. Next up will be the Mets at home for 3. With the Mets trying to make ground in 2 races, they will be trying to avoid any spoiled opportunities.
After a homestand, the Phils go back on the road this week looking to play spoilers in the division. The Phils start the week in Miami on Monday afternoon, beginning a 3 game set. The Marlins need these games to have any chance in the Wild Card race. After leaving Miami, the Phils will head into Washington where the Nats will be looking to put the proverbial fork in the division. The Phils best hope is to make their job a little tougher but if they don’t score some runs, that’s not very likely.
Both the R-Phils and Iron Pigs will begin the postseason this week. Once either or both of those teams are done, Matt Klentak will have some decisions to make. Both teams will be hoping to give him some extra time to think about it. Good luck to both teams!