Every time I write this, I hope to bring better news or at least a glimmer of hope. This isn’t the week.
|New York Mets
Once again, the NL East beat up on the Phightins to a 3-4 record this past week. After capping off their weekend series with a win last Sunday, the Braves and Mets both took 2 of 3 from the Phils. When they scored, they got outscored. When they didn’t score, they got trounced.
I think I finally have to admit that Freddy Galvis is better than I thought he could be. He has taken on the roll of succeeding a legend and has run with it. Still hitting .340 after more than a month and playing some solid defense some would say he has far surpassed what we got from Jimmy Rollins over the last few years. In addition, Ryan Howard has found his HR swing again. If he can start to string a few more hits together and get back to something resembling respectable, the middle of the order may start putting up some runs. Overall, the Phillies are last in the majors in hitting with a .228 team average. The next closest team (White Sox) is hitting 22 points higher at .250. Not to mention…OBP, OPS, SLG, Runs and virtually every other offensive statistic you can imagine. If this keeps up, Galvis may be asking for a trade.
The pitching has started shifting in the wrong direction as well. The rotation and back end of the pen were keeping the team in games early but the rotation as it is constructed, including the addition of Chad Billingsley, is not keeping the team as close as it had been. Hamels has slowed his epic HR pace that he was on early and has shown some signs of being the Hamels of old (including a great showing against Matt Harvey) but has some wrinkles to iron out. Harang has continued to be consistent but you have to think the lack of run support will catch up. Billingsley has looked pretty good in spots but has shown a propensity to get himself in trouble with the long ball. If he can keep the ball in the park, it may result in some wins.
Every few games, the team shows up on both sides but it will only get worse if this offense does not come around. Rumors are rampant that Maikel Franco could be making an appearance soon enough but all that means is more disarray and tinkering with the lineup.
Around the N.L. East
Mets- Their lead is still 3.5 but it’s now over the Nats who are coming on fast. Their pitching is still among the tops in the majors but their offense is in the bottom third and falling. With series against the Cards and Pirates this week, that lead may not last much longer.
Nats- Bryce Harper has started to take the offense on his young shoulders and catch them up to the pitching. After a 6 HR in 3 game stretch (including a walkoff), Harper is as hot as any player in the Bigs. If the rest of the offense follows his lead, this team will be running away with the East in no time. A West Coast swing against the D-Backs and Padres this week will set up a short set with the Yanks and 3 against the Phils next week.
Marlins- The latest surprise in the East has been the Marlins. Their pitching is in the top half of the Majors and their offense is 6th in Avg. Despite the average, they are only 17th in total bases. If they want to stay in the mix, they will need to start adding some extra base hits to their repertoire. If that happens, they may just start raising some eyebrows. The Fish will finish off a West Coast swing against the Giants before taking on the Braves at home.
Braves- The Braves offense has not been the root of their free fall the last few weeks. The pitching is in the bottom tier of the Majors. After winning 3 of 4 to start the week, the Braves lost 3 straight to the Nats. They will visit the Reds and Marlins this week before returning home against the Rays.
Phils- The Phils have 4 against the Buccos and 3 against the D-Backs at home before going on the road for 10 games against the Rockies, Nats and Mets.
The Phils lost 2.5 games in one week and now sit 9.5 out of first. With double digits looming before we hit mid-May, it isn’t likely to get much prettier. Sorry, folks.