What a week. First, the Phils swept out the Mets to show they actually can beat them. Then they wrapped up the #1 pick (despite the lack of a stone cold lock for that pick). Finally, with Sunday’s win, the Phillies avoided the 100 loss mark and wrapped up the season at 63-99. So, here’s my final weekly N.L. East wrap up of the 2015 season.
The Phils scored 29 runs in their final 6 games of the season and should have finished up winning 5 of 6 if not for bad timing by Ken Giles (see below). Maikel Franco came back for the final series and managed to hit one more HR to cap off an impressive rookie season. Odubel Herrera finished his rookie year with a 10-18 week to end the season at .297 and lead the team in hitting, hits and OBP. It was a truly impressive season from the Rule 5 pick. With Herrera and Franco and maybe even Cesar Hernandez, the Phils have a few pieces filled into the puzzle. Ever Aaron Altherr earned his spot. When spring rolls around, it will be interesting to see what other players from the farm system can play their way onto the 40 man roster.
Despite shutting down Aaron Nola for the final week, the Phils still got a few glimpses at the future. Jared Eickhoff had another quality start to get his third win. Alec Asher…not so much. Ken Giles picked the worst time to blow his first save since taking over for Jonathan Papelbon. The rest of the week was heavily dependent on the bullpen and they were able to piece together a pretty solid week. With openings aplenty, it shouldn’t be hard to earn a spot on this staff next year. One name we won’t be hearing as part of the equation is Jesse Biddle though, who will be having Tommy John surgery and likely won’t be throwing in any competitive manor next season.
Andy MacPhail has his work cut out for him on both sides of the ball. First order of business though is finding himself a GM to help with the workload.
Around the N.L. East
Mets (90-72)– I’m pretty sure this is not how the Mets hoped to be heading into the playoffs. After locking things up last week, the Mets lost 5 of 6 to the Phillies and Nationals and scoring just 10 runs in those games Oh, and there was the little matter of being no-hit for the 2nd time this season. Heading into a series with the Dodgers who have a few guys by the name Greinke and Kershaw, this week could portend a rough playoff run ahead.
Nationals (83-79)– Well, at least they have Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper. After losing 2 of 3 to the Braves, the Nats took 2 of 3 from the Mets including a Scherzer’s 2nd no-no of the season. While Harper was dominant this season, in a fitting manner for how their season transpired, he lost his batting title to Dee Gordon on the final day of the season. The Nats completely imploded despite their sky high expectations. It’s unlikely that the expectations will be much lower in 2016. Can they deal with it the next time around?
Marlins (71-91)– The Marlins had a pretty good 2nd half of the season but finished on a lowly 2-4 week. Dee Gordon won a batting title and the Marlins may have found a new ace in Ichiro but otherwise, it was a rough season. The Marlins invested a ton of money in Giancarlo Stanton, who missed a large majority of the season. Would he have been enough to get them in contention had he stuck around? Highly unlikely. The Marlins have a lot of work to do in figuring out whether a few more parts will do the trick or if they need to make some big decisions about where they allocate their money.
Braves (67-95)– After a disastrous 2nd half that saw a fire sale of players and a battle for the top draft pick, the Braves at least ended on a high note winning 5 of 6 including a 3 game sweep of the NL leading Cardinals on the final weekend. The Braves gave little signs of making much of a run without some major overhauling in the offseason. More likely, they will be battling it out with the Phils at the bottom once again in 2016.
And here we are in my final wrap up paragraph of 2015. The only thing the Phils have on their schedule this week are tee times in states, countries and islands far from Philadelphia. As MacPhail and his soon to be GM bunker down to make decisions on the future, it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be some tough decisions. Between deciding who’s ready to make the jump and filling holes with no-risk (and hopefully high reward) free agents, they will be starting the mold for the next 5-10 years of Phillies baseball. If they want to see a lot less of the blue seats in CBP as the next few years pass, they need to be sure they make at least some of those choices count.
See you all in the spring!