What is else is there to say? There is no better way to describe this team as a laughing stock at the moment.
There is not a facet of the game that we don’t struggle at. Outside of the our three horses (you know, since a Phillie is a horse) Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola and JT Realmuto, production from this team has been hard to find. You tell me the last time a team succeeded when three players were the only ones to show up every day.
While our starting pitching has been off to a somewhat solid start, we can’t hold on to leads because our relievers love to give up runs. The amount of HRs they give up, you’ll have to convince me they all aren’t just pitching machines disguised as pitchers. When our crappy relievers make pitches, our infielders can’t make the plays in the field. Either way, teams take the leads back with ease. In this age of baseball, a bullpen this bad won’t allow you to play over .500, let alone get into the playoffs. What should have been a 13-1 rout of the Braves on Monday ended up being a close game in which you had to start getting Hector Neris loose.
And the bullpen only pitched one inning. They only needed to record three outs.
Offensively, this team has been almost just as bad outside of the aforementioned Harper and Realmuto. Rhys Hoskins has looked absolutely lost at the plate. Scott Kingery clearly sold out for power, severely diminishing the above average hit tool he showed in his minor league career. Jean Segura hasn’t looked interested since the third or fourth month of last season. Andrew McCutchen still doesn’t look right coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL. Our bench doesn’t exude terror, unless when the Goose Phil Gosselin is loose. It’s really sad to watch so many players struggle at the same time.
I wish that these were the least of our issues.
The front office has really dropped the ball, and it all starts with GM Matt Klentak and, to a lesser extent, owner John Middleton. This rut we are in right now seems to have no end in sight. While rebuilding teams (jeez, look at the Orioles) have plethora of young and interesting talent, the Phillies, an expected contender, have two really elite prospects in Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm who are ready to contribute. The scouting department from 2013-2016 was a dumpster fire, and may be the ultimate cause of this skid. While 2017-Present we have seen better results, the three years of horrible drafting and scouting are coming to bite us. Pair that with no minor league season for the guys who need developmental time and it exasperates the problem. I actually think the current scouting department is a strength of ours, as Brian Barber was brought in this offseason to run it after years of having a hand in building the current Yankees. Again, doesn’t help us in the near term when we need it most.
John Middleton is to blame for one reason in my book: not signing Realmuto in spring training. The best catcher in baseball wants to be paid like such and has said on multiple occasions he wants to be here and an owner who will spend stupid money. It should be a match made in heaven. While ultimately in the end I think the Phillies end up signing him due to his relationship with Bryce Harper, the uncertainly definitely doesn’t make it easier for Phillies fans.
While Joe Girardi has made his fair share of mistakes, there isn’t much you can do with a roster performing this poorly. I have definitely had issues with his handling of the pitching staff, but not much you can do when Deolis Guerra is your best option in the 10th inning of a game. His lineup seem to be heavily relying on matchups, which doesn’t really seem to be paying off. With how bad this offense is performing though, I bet it wouldn’t make a difference either way.
Makes you wonder if Gabe Kapler wasn’t so bad after all.
I just don’t know where this team goes from here. Hopefully, we can get a strong start from young Spencer Howard to get us on the right track, but of course, it has to be against Jacob DeGrom.
Even if we have a lead, we probably won’t be able to keep it for very long.