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.
Nola took a perfect game into the seventh and was one out away from a complete game. Of course, neither of these things came to fruition in an eventual 4-3 loss in San Diego, but much of that was out of Nola’s control. The 117th pitch of his would-be gem was deposited for a tying a home run by Jake Cronenworth, a batter Nola shouldn’t have been facing. Nevertheless, Nola was brilliant for eight innings before that, allowing one earned run on one hit and striking out 11.
Hoskins showed why he is arguably the most important piece to the Phillies lineup with a two home run game in his first game back since August 5th. The Phillies slugger finished the day 2-3 with a walk and was the catalyst for a 7-4 win that claimed a series in San Diego. In the 14 games Hoskins missed, the Phillies scored more than two runs just six times and only scored four or more runs five times.
Suarez turned in yet another impressive start, this time going 6 ⅔ while allowing six one run on six hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. The left hander generated nine total swings and misses, seven of which on his changeup. Suarez has carried over the success of his sinker and changeup from the bullpen to the rotation to the tune of a 2.11 ERA in five starts. However, being a two pitch-pitcher will eventually catch up to a starter. It will be fascinating to see if Suarez can develop his slider into an effective third pitch either this year or next spring.
Herrera has hit well to start August, slashing .344/.397/.672 in 18 games played. He has been one of the only Phillies hitters to be steadily producing over the last two weeks. However, his defense has not been up to par, with a fielding misplay in Tuesday night’s game leading to the go-ahead and an insurance run scoring in a 3-1 loss.
McCutchen has struggled mightily since returning from injury on August 11th. In 11 games since then, McCutchen is hitting an even .100 (4 for 40) with 17 strikeouts to just two walks. All but one of those strikeouts have come against right handed pitching. On the season, McCutchen is slashing .176/.292/.322 against righties with a strikeout percentage just above 27 percent.
Bohm was demoted to Triple A Lehigh Valley to make room for Hoskins’ return. The former top prospect was 1 for his last 13 and was hitting .167 over his last 15 games. He was effectively benched for Ronald Torreyes and Brad Miller for his defense before falling into the deep cold streak.
Harper has cooled off considerably from his torrid stretch in July that put him into the MVP conversation. The Phillies star is hitting .200 over the last week and .191 over his last 15 games. He is still getting on base at a high clip, but Harper is now also striking out at a near identical rate (15 K’s to 13 walks). In the games the Phillies were without Hoskins, Harper hit .209 but had a .991 OPS.
Much like Harper, Segura is also struggling of late. He’s hitting .196 over his last 15 games and is 3 for his last 36 at bats. Segura is hitting .237 as a whole in 21 games in July after hitting .269 in 25 games in July. He has not tallied a multi-hit game since August 11th. Segura has particularly struggled with RISP while hitting near the top of the order of late, going 0 for his last 13 plate appearances with a walk and one RBI.
Phillies Postseason Chances
The team had a golden opportunity to extend their lead over the Braves when they traveled to Arizona to face one of the worst teams of the last decade. Instead, the Phillies got swept by the lowly Diamondbacks while the Braves embarked on a nine game winning streak and suddenly find themselves 4.5 games back.