The downward spiral continues for the Phillies. They’ve lost five in a row and 11 of their last 15. They’ve fallen to eight games below .500, their worst in five years. One of their best hitters in Jean Segura is now out until at least August with a broken finger. Their reigning MVP in Bryce Harper was scratched from the lineup with what seems to be a flareup of his torn UCL that will probably need surgery soon. The team is seemingly on a race to the bottom with no end in sight and no inclination that they intend on changing things quickly.
After possibly hitting rock bottom, Realmuto has come alive over the last week. He’s hitting .350 over the last week with 6 RBIs and, most importantly, just three strikeouts. The 31-year-old catcher still isn’t hitting for hardly any power, as he has just one double over that span and just six extra base hits overall in the month of May. Nevertheless, Realmuto making contact and driving in runs is a positive.
Like Realmuto, Castellanos has started to shake off his cold streak over the last week. He’s hitting .300 over his last seven games including two home runs that snapped a homerless streak of 17 games. His clutch, go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the 8th on Sunday against the Mets should’ve been a game winner, but alas the Phillies bullpen couldn’t make it stick.
Nola finally earned his first win since Opening Day with one of the best starts of his career. He tossed 8 innings of scoreless baseball before being removed in the ninth and being charged with a run on a wild pitch by Corey Knebel. Nola’s final line was 8.1 IP, 5 hits, one run, and 10 strikeouts. It was just the second time in his career that Nola went at least 8 innings while allowing one run or less with no walks and at least 10 K’s. The other was a complete game shutout last April against the Cardinals.
He’s in line for a promotion very soon!
Girardi is nearly the sole reason that the Phillies lost to the Giants Tuesday night. In one night, Girardi reneged on his three days of rest rule, pitched Nick Nelson an extra inning just to then make Connor Brogdon and Seranthony Dominguez attempt a wraparound inning anyway, and inserted Roman Quinn into the game for Nick Castellanos in a situation that yet again brought Quinn up in a crucial spot where he predictably struck out. Girardi’s decisions have no rhyme or reason and he refuses to learn from mistakes that happened as recently as this week. The team looks utterly listless and their postgame quotes echo the feeling. Firing Girardi is not the magical elixir that will save the season, but it would be a good start in developing the cure for the rot that infects the Phillies organization.
Moniak returned from the injured list and in six plate appearances in the majors this season, he’s struck out five times. He was pinch hit for by Girardi with the bases loaded and no one out Tuesday night despite supposedly being given the lead for playing time in center field. The manager clearly has no faith in Moniak and refuses to let him even attempt to succeed or let him fail.
After looking like he was possibly turning a corner, Schwarber is now 2 for his last 25 with 9 strikeouts. Both of those hits came in a game against the Giants on Sunday where Schwarber tied the game with a home run in the ninth only for the Phillies to yet again lose the game in extra innings anyway. Schwarber will never hit for a high average, but an average of .185 with an OPS of .721 and a 31.6 K% simply isn’t good enough.
The Phillies bullpen
The bullpen has, yet again for the third year in a row, been the Achilles’ heel for a team that just cannot hold any leads. Setting aside Girardi’s mismanagement of the unit for the moment, they still have the seventh worst ERA in baseball at 4.22. They have the worst walk percentage at 11.9%. They have the second worst WHIP at 1.46. The Phillies bullpen allows too many baserunners and doesn’t have the ability to consistently work around it.
The Phillies offense at building a lead
Phillies hitters have a combined OPS of .697 from the seventh inning on. They have the fourth most strikeouts in that span at 152. Those numbers are even worse in the six games they’ve gone to extra innings. Phillies hitters have a .503 OPS and .174 AVG after the ninth inning with 9 strikeouts in 28 plate appearances. The offense can’t build on its early leads while the bullpen slowly gives them away and too often rolls over and dies after the lead is gone.