The Phillies finish up their three-game series against the Miami Marlins with a 11-6 loss and things are looking a lot like the 2019 squad through three games. It is very clear that the Phillies bullpen is going to be an issue in 2020 as they struggled against a sorry Marlins lineup. The hope that things will be better with Joe Girardi did not show this weekend as the same flaws plagued the Phillies in an embarrassing weekend.
1. Horrible Execution with Runners on
The Phillies offense did not live up to their expectations in 2019 where their hitting coach was let go midseason for Charlie Manuel. Entering 2020, there was optimism that a new coaching staff could help fix a talented Phillies lineup produce to their standards.
Through three games in 2020 the Phillies are 3 for 21 with runners in scoring position and have left 24 men on base. The lone win in this series against the Marlins featured 7 runs all off the long ball. With a overall weak pitching staff, the Phillies can not afford to leave this many runners on and expect to compete for the playoffs. Trailing by four, the Phillies failed to score with the bases loaded for three straight innings in Sunday’s loss.
2. Bullpen might be worse than last year
It was hard to tell what was worse in 2019, the Phillies starting rotation or their bullpen. I think it’s obvious the team’s 2020 bullpen is horrible.
After Nola exited on opening day, two Phillies arms made their major league debut, Ramon Rosso and Reggie McClain. Rosso was terrible and was all over the place as he threw multiple wild pitches allowing the Marlins to extend their lead. Sunday’s game got much worse; after a poor Vince Velasquez start, Cole Irvin provided some live batting practice for the Marlins as everything he threw seemed to find a barrel.
Reggie McClain topped Irvin’s outing by allowing a 3-run homer to Brian Anderson the second he entered the game. If the Marlins are going to feast on our bullpen, I am scared to see what a real major league team does. Klentak needs to be held accountable for not improving the bullpen this offseason.
3. Rhys Hoskins lacking aggression at the plate
I thought Rhys Hoskins had a solid weekend, but its not what you want from him at the plate. Rhys was 2/8 with a double and 7 walks in the series loss against the Marlins.
Rhys continued to stare at hittable pitches early in the count this weekend and provided little pop at the plate. Maybe Rhys isn’t this crazy power threat we initially saw in 2017 when he entered the league, I am starting to believe he is an on-base guy, which isn’t a bad thing but leaves a major whole in this lineup. Other than Bryce Harper the Phillies best power threats are JT Realmuto, Hoskins, and Jay Bruce.
If Rhys wants to continue to take his walks, someone else will need to step up and drive runners in this lineup.
4. Vince Velasquez hasn’t changed a bit
After looking very promising in the Phillies summer camp, Vince Velasquez is back to his old self.
After a solid first inning in Sunday’s start, the flood gates opened fast for Vince as he instantly blew a 4-0 Phillies lead in the top of the second. We saw classic Vince today, high pitch count, lack of fastball command, and multiple homers allowed. My hopes for a Vince Velasquez break out season are officially over, move him to the pen, replace him with top pitching prospect Spencer Howard.
5. Awful when trailing
Last season when the Phillies would trail early it felt like they were always down by a dozen. Regardless of the score, or the inning, it always felt like the 2019 Phillies were not going to overcome the deficit they faced and in Friday/Sunday’s games, fans had the same feeling.
After Nola allowed a two-run homerun in the 5th inning of Friday nights game, the Phillies offense went silent, only scoring an unearned run to cap off an opening day loss. In Sunday’s game there was more of the same. The Phillies blew three straight chances with the bases loaded and could not get back into a slug fest type game against a poor Marlins bullpen. This Phillies offense is great on paper but when teams are opening the door to come back in a game you need to find a way to produce other than the long ball.
The 2019 Phillies severely struggled against the last place Marlins and this opening weekend reminded us of those terrible moments from last season. The Phillies have a difficult schedule in 2020, not encouraging to see them fall back to their old ways, losing two of three to the Miami Marlins.