Baseball season is long. It’s a season full of peaks and valleys, hot streaks and cold streaks. Who’s hitting, who’s slumping, who deserves more playing time, who needs to sit. All of these and more are common questions during the slog of a 162 game season. Here we’ll quickly break down some storylines and player performances to get a better picture of what is happening with the Phillies on a weekly basis.
Galvis has quietly been productive of late. He has a .998 OPS across 59 plate appearances in 17 September games. Galvis also has 8 RBIs and seven extra base hits over that span including four home runs. He has stepped up on the left side of the infield as Didi Gregorious and Ronald Torreyes have struggled.
Now time for the weekly Harper update. He has a 1.337 OPS over his last seven games and is hitting .417 in that span. Harper is five points behind Trea Turner for the N.L. Batting Title and leads baseball in OPS at 1.050. He has really started to push ahead of Fernando Tatis Jr. in the last few weeks in the MVP chase.
Vierling has started to see more playing time and continues to hit. He’s played in 17 games and has 37 plate appearances in September after having just a combined six games and 12 plate appearances this season prior. As a whole, he’s hitting .242 in September but has heated up of late, going five for his last sixteen. The knock however is Vierling doesn’t walk much (just two on the year) and is primarily a singles hitter (just three extra base hits.) But, Vierling’s contact has been a boost to a team desperate for offense outside of Harper.
Nola went at least five innings and allowed two runs or less for the first time since his almost-complete game in San Diego on August 21st. He is still struggling to get through the sixth, but Nola has now tossed three straight starts of at least five innings with three or less runs allowed and has 25 strikeouts over that span. Baby steps.
The Phillies offense
The Orioles have 103 losses and have a team ERA of 5.89 which ranks them dead last in the Majors. They held the Phillies scoreless through 14 consecutive innings. Outside of Harper, Philadelphia has struggled mightily of late to generate any offense. They are hitting a collective .208 with an OPS of .541 since Sunday’s finale in New York. If you remove Harper from that equation, the numbers drop to .207 and .511.
Bryce Harper’s baserunning
There’s no doubt that Harper has almost single-handedly kept this team alive in the division race. However, it appears he’s starting to press as his teammates are struggling at the plate. He ran into two outs on the base paths Tuesday night, including being tagged out at home by a mile when the infield was in. Both times Harper ran into a second out when there was a runner on third with one out.
Gregorious’ miserable season has persisted, as his season line sits at .211/.270/.366. His OBP ranks 235th out of 243 major league hitters with at least 300 plate appearances. Gregarious’ 0.0 WAR is 34th out of 36 shortstops with the same qualifier. His 17 errors is tied for fifth among all shortstops and tied for sixth among all players despite only playing in 91 games.
Herrera is having a poor September through 17 games. He’s hitting .230 with a paltry .580 OPS. In 15 games batting leadoff, those numbers fall to .217 and .550. On Tuesday night, Herrera inexplicably tried to bunt after Ronald Torreyes had moved Freddy Galvis into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt the at-bat before and the camera caught manager Joe Girardi yelling to him to swing.
McCutchen has struggled mightily since the beginning of August. He’s hitting .189 in 36 games played with an OPS of .633. Those numbers improve a little bit if you just look at September (.219, .708) but not by much. McCutchen is still hitting left handers at a good clip in September however, posting an .868 OPS in 19 plate appearances.
The Phillies Postseason chances
They are still alive, but time is rapidly running out. Philadelphia must now make up three games with 11 games to play including Wednesday night. They have five more games at home against last place teams before they head to Atlanta for a possible division title showdown.