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.
Moore is what he is and no one should expect more (sorry), but he was brilliant in his last start. The lefthander went 6 no-hit innings against the Reds on Saturday in his first start since July 27th, Moore struck out eight and walked two before being lifted at 76 pitches. He gave the Phillies exactly what they needed that day after Zack Wheeler surrendered four runs in a loss the night before.
The wisdom behind moving Suarez back into a starting role is still dubious, but it’s no argument that he has continued to excel even after the move. In three starts, Suarez has allowed one earned run on three hits and six walks. Suarez’s increased velocity that he flashed while a reliever has persisted so far as he builds his pitch count back up as a starter.
The Braves have surged whereas the Mets have faded, with Atlanta becoming the Phillies main obstacle to the division crown. In fact, the Braves are 12-3 in August and have vaulted into first place as the Phillies have stumbled, stretching out to a 2.5 game lead.
Nola once again delivered a dud when he could have delivered a series win, allowing four runs on six hits in just 4 ⅓ innings against the Reds on Sunday. His ERA is now at 4.48 on the season, the eighth worst of the 26 pitchers who have at least 24 starts. He has lasted at least six innings in just 11 of those 24 starts. Nola’s struggles with two outs persist, as he has now allowed 10 of 20 home runs surrendered this season with two strikes.
The Phillies offense
A week after powering a winning streak, the Phillies offense has once again grown ice cold. As a whole, the Phillies offense has slashed a combined .183/.271/.284 in seven games since the end of their winning streak. The offense has also missed Rhys Hoskins in a huge way as their 4-5 hitters are hitting a combined .202 in the 10 games Hoskins has missed. This problem was displayed perfectly when Bryce Harper walked three times on Sunday while Didi Gregorious and Andrew McCutchen went a combined 0-8 with three strikeouts and seven left on base behind him in a 7-4 loss.
Miller has gotten the majority of the playing time at first base without Hoskins and is 2-24 with eight strikeouts in that span. Since the start of July, Miller is hitting .184 in 37 games played. He cannot be an everyday player and should not be playing at the expense of Alec Bohm.
Phillies center fielders
Center field has once again become a black hole for offense on the Phillies. Travis Jankowski and Odubel Herrera have hit a combined .164/.270/.200 since the start of August. Those two have also logged 23 plate appearances batting leadoff in that span, slashing an even worse .136/.174/.182. Mickey Moniak was given just one plate appearance as a pinch hitter over this span despite the lack of production from Jankwoski and Herrera.
Major League Umpires
Aaron Nola dug the Phillies into a hole on Sunday, but the home plate umpire dug it deeper by gifting the Reds three runs after blatantly missing a called strike three for the third out. It was bad for both sides that day, with Nick Castellanos and Reds manager David Bell being ejected in the first inning.