It was fun to be a Phillies fan on August 5th. They finished off a sweep of the Marlins, won 5 games in a row, and owned a 1.5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Their pitching was cruising along like it had been, giving up 12 runs over a 6 games. Their offense, which had been silent throughout most of the season, had sprung to life against the Marlins. They scored 5 or more runs in each game of the four-game series at a rate of 5.75 runs per game.
Then they flew west.
You know what happened from here. They lost the series to the Diamondbacks. Then they lost to the Padres, paused with a nice 2-game split with the Red Sox, then they lost to the Mets, Nationals, Blue Jays, Nationals again, Cubs, and Marlins.
All told, they failed to win all 9 series since August 5. To make matters worse, 6 of those series were against losing teams.
If the Phillies - and their 5th worst offense in the NL in terms of runs - are unable to beat Jacob deGrom, the likely Cy Young winner with a 1.68 ERA, it will be 10-straight series without a win and 7-straight against losing ball clubs.
Yet, as bleak as it might seem, the Phillies are still in a great position to go from worst to first to win the National League East in 2018. First, let's set the stage for the remaining three series for the Phils and Braves before their meeting on September 20:
After the Mets this afternoon, the Phillies play the Nationals, Marlins, and Mets at home.
After the Diamondbacks this afternoon, the Braves play the Giants on the road and then the Nationals and Cardinals at home.
Let's say the Phillies pull off a win today against the Mets and the Braves fall to the Diamondbacks to split that series, putting the Phils 2.5 games back. Now here's the scenario:
Phillies win all three series against losing teams.
Braves lose the two series against the Giants and Cardinals, but win the series against the Nationals.
That would put the Phillies a half-game back with seven head-to-heads awaiting with the Braves. It's not much to ask of any team, even one that has struggled as much as the Phillies.
There is also reason to believe the Phillies offense is due to break out soon, mainly because it just can't be possible for an entire team to keep slumping as they have. I'm going to borrow this from Corey Seidman again and show you the individual batting numbers since their month-long stretch began (these are all before the Mets series):
Rhys Hoskins: .180 BA, .641 OPS
Odubel Herrera: .192 BA, .530 OPS
Cesar Hernandez: .219 BA, .627 OPS
Maikel Franco: .228 BA, .692 OPS
Nick Williams: .247 BA, .673 OPS
Asdrubal Cabrera: .248 BA, .715 OPS
Carlos Santana: .260 BA, .785 OPS
Scott Kingery: .262 BA, .765 OPS
Jorge Alfaro: .283 BA, .754 OPS
Roman Quinn: .339 BA, .927 OPS
Wilson Ramos: .362 BA, 1.011 OPS
Nearly all of those players have a long-enough track record to suggest those numbers don't reflect their actual talent.
Want some reason for optimism? Hoskins has homered in 2 straight, Hernandez went 4-for-4 last night, Santana is hitting .345 with 2 homers and a 1.008 OPS in his last 7, Cabrera is hitting .346 with 2 homers and a 1.082 OPS in his last 7. #BeBold— Scott Butler (@PhilsBball) September 9, 2018
Don't give up hope just yet. It's quite possible the next three weeks will be some of the most memorable in Phillies history.comments powered by Disqus