It’s officially put up or shut up time for the Philadelphia Phillies. They’ve lost five in a row and have seen their lead for a postseason spot dwindle to just two games over the Milwaukee Brewers. Some of their biggest stars are not producing and their pitching is starting to spring leaks. But it’s not over, as their destiny lies completely ahead of them. They control their own fate and need to seize it if they don’t want another ugly September.
If the Phillies were to make it to the postseason and somehow advance to the NLDS, Falter would be the fourth starter. He’s been their most consistent starter over the last month, posting a 2.36 ERA over six starts since the beginning of August. Falter’s latest outing wasn’t quite as good, but he went 4.2 and allowed just one run on four hits in Atlanta. He kept the Phillies offense in the game as they were being dominated by Spencer Strider.
Realmuto had a rough road trip (3-21) but returned home with a vengeance. He went 5-5 in an 18-11 loss to Toronto, finishing a triple shy of the cycle. Realmuto became the first Phillie since Jayson Werth in August of 2007 to go 5-5 at the plate and the first to have five hits overall since he did it himself last August. His 1.022 OPS in the second half is second in all of baseball behind Aaron Judge. His second half batting line of .321/.392/.631 is miles ahead of any other catcher.
Stott has been one of the few non-Realmuto hitters to show a pulse over the most recent losing streak. His 2-3 day in Atlanta with two runs scored and an RBI almost sparked the Phillies to a come from behind win before Ronald Acuña Jr. nearly single-handedly won the game for the Braves. Stott’s two poor errors Tuesday night aside, he’s been one of the few signs of life in a listless offense.
The Phillies need Bryce Harper to be better if they want to end their postseason drought. He’s been absolutely brutal in the month of September, hitting .179 with a .621 OPS and a K% of 31.3%. His baserunning blunder Tuesday night ended a Phillies rally that had brought them to within two runs after trailing 7-1. In 21 games since returning from a broken thumb, Harper is hitting .234 with a .771 OPS. That’s simply not good enough for the reigning MVP on a team fighting to end an 11-year playoff drought.
It’s increasingly difficult to see the benefits of Gibson continuing to make meaningful starts. He was absolutely shellacked by the Blue Jays Tuesday, allowing 7 runs on 12 hits in five innings. Five of those 12 hits were for extra bases, including a three-run home run by Matt Chapman in the first inning. It was the second time this season that Gibson has allowed five extra-base hits in a game. He generated just 5 whiffs on 39 swings from Toronto. The defense was poor behind Gibson, but that’s an unacceptable performance on the mound. Gibson has a 9.68 ERA in four September starts and has allowed 7 earned runs in two of them. Opponents have a batting line of .395/.437/.642 against Gibson in September.
Brogdon has a 5.51 ERA in 17 appearances since the beginning of August. He’s allowed ten extra base hits including four home runs in just 16 IP over that span. In fact, Brogdon has just five appearances over that span where he did not allow a baserunner. He’s been moved into a low leverage role, but he cannot even be trusted with keeping a small deficit from turning into a huge hole. Brogdon’s velocity is still down from what it was early last season, and his pitches are remarkably flat.
Coonrod’s performance Tuesday night was probably the only thing that saved Brogdon from a demotion. Coonrod allowed four runs on three hits and a walk in one inning of work that raised his ERA to 7.82 in 12 appearances. He has allowed 11 earned runs in just 6.2 IP in the month of September. His ability to generate swings and misses while limiting walks from last season is gone and he was demoted to Triple A to make room for Zack Wheeler.
Hand’s smoke and mirrors ERA is finally starting to even out, as he too allowed four runs to Toronto but recorded just one out. He has an 8.44 ERA in seven September appearances while allowing 11 hits in just 5.1 innings. Hand’s luck with the numerous baserunners he’s allowed this season has run out.
Dominguez had an epic meltdown in the eighth inning of Friday’s loss in Atlanta. He entered the game with a 2-1 lead and left with the score 4-2 before finally being charged with 5 earned runs on three hits and two walks. Dominguez walked the leadoff hitter before Acuña blasted a two-run homer that was the beginning of a Braves rally which turned a potentially massive win into a crushing defeat. Nick Nelson failed to clean up Dominguez’s mess and the two combined to allow 6 runs in an inning.