The Phillies have reached a crossroads in their season. Their best player and reigning MVP Bryce Harper will miss at least the next month and a half after having surgery on a broken thumb. Philadelphia will have to survive that time while simultaneously staying alive in a Wild Card hunt that they are currently 3 games back in. They showed they can win without Harper by taking three of four in San Diego. They also showed how much they’ll miss Harper in a series-opening loss to the Braves.
The month of Schwarber is nearing its end, but the Phillies’ left fielder is trying to cram in as much offense as he can in the final days. Schwarber is hitting .286 with an OPS of 1.105 over his last seven games with 4 HRs and 10 RBIs. For the month of June, Schwarber is hitting .284 with an OPS of 1.098 and an astounding 11 HRs in 25 games. Of his 22 home runs on the season, 15 have either tied the game or given the Phillies the lead.
Bohm has quietly been very hot over the last two weeks as he’s hitting .315 over that span. He’s still not hitting for much power, as even during this current hot streak he only has four extra base hits and three RBIs. But the Phillies will need offense anywhere they can get it in the wake of Harper’s injury and Bohm is providing some.
Knebel has thrived after being removed from the closer’s role following a disappointing May and most of June. He has yet to allow a run in 9 appearances in either the seventh or eighth inning this season. In fact, Knebel has only allowed one hit total in those innings with six strikeouts to three walks.
Alvarado will never be fully trustworthy due to his erratic command, but he has performed well since being recalled from Triple A on June 12th. He has a 2.70 ERA over 7 appearances in that span with 9 K’s to four walks. Alvarado hasn’t allowed an earned run over his last six appearances while allowing just three total hits with just two walks. The Phillies have a hole in their already shaky bullpen with Connor Brogdon being placed on the COVID list, so there’s a chance Alvarado will begin to see more action.
Sticking to the theme of the bullpen, Nelson turned in another excellent appearance in long relief on Sunday. He entered the game in the third inning after Kyle Gibson surrendered five runs and pitched 3.1 perfect innings. Nelson kept the Phillies in the game and allowed their offense to come alive and claim an 8-5 win. Nelson doesn’t bring anything eye-popping to the table, but it’s a nice change of pace to have a long reliever that isn’t always a human white flag.
Castellanos is still just hitting .207 with a .407 OPS over the last week despite a 4-5 day on Sunday. The Phillies desperately need him to hit in Harper’s absence. He has yet to hit a home run in June and is hitting .221 and has a .535 OPS with two games to go. Castellanos still looks utterly lost at the plate, as he’s either swinging at the first pitch or flailing at pitches way out of the strike zone. For the Phillies to survive and stay afloat over the next month plus, Castellanos has to perform to expectations.
Eflin has averaged just 5 innings in his five starts in June and has thrown just 7 total in his last two starts. He allowed six total runs in those two starts as the team said they were being cautious with his health. Well now Eflin is on the injured list with a bruise his oft-injured right knee. This knee has become a recurring theme for Eflin, as he had three stints on the IL last season with right patella tendonitis. Eflin’s durability will surely be a major sticking point in his upcoming contract negotiations, but for now it will test the Phillies’ flimsy pitching depth.
Herrera might have broken his 0-25, but he still is hitting just .183 for the month of June with a .583 OPS. He has been dreadful with runners on base all season, as he’s hitting .111 with a .321 OPS with RISP and .171 with a .556 OPS with runners on in general. The Phillies injuries and other players not performing have forced Herrera into the sixth spot in the order where he’s 8-35 with six strikeouts in 11 games this season.
Despite Herrera’s ineffectiveness, he remains the team’s best center field option against right-handed pitchers due to Moniak’s struggles. The former number one overall pick is hitting .143 in 10 games this season with 12 strikeouts to three walks. It’s been debatable that the Phillies, especially under Joe Girardi, never really gave Moniak a chance at the major league level. But what isn’t debatable is he hasn’t really forced the issue at all when he is given playing time. Moniak has yet to even show small signs that he can effectively hit major league pitching, and until he does so won’t be given more chances.
Thomson made a costly mistake in Tuesday night’s loss to the Braves. He elected not to pinch hit for Mickey Moniak in the bottom of the sixth with runners on the corners and two outs in a 3-2 game. Atlanta brought in left-hander Dylan Lee and Thomson allowed Moniak to bat despite the latter being 0-15 against left-handers in his MLB career. Thomson stuck with Moniak instead of going to Matt Vierling who’s hitting .289 with a .769 OPS against left-handers this season. Moniak hit a shallow fly to right and the Phillies wasted a scoring opportunity.
Snell now joins John Lannan in Philadelphia hit-by-pitch infamy.