Bryce Harper

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies' failures fall on their offense

Dave Uram
July 22, 2019 - 2:27 pm
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Yes, the Phillies' rotation is a puzzle. Drew Smyly might be their third, or second, best option. Yikes. 

Related: MLB Rumors: Phillies vs. Braves for Greinke?

Yes, their bullpen is concerning. Hector Neris, although talented, makes things too interesting. Ranger Suarez is becoming one of Gabe Kapler’s go-to-guys in high leverage situations. That certainly wasn’t the plan. The three pitchers Matt Klentak gave a lot of money to have spent most of their seasons on the injured list. Not good. 

Pitching is definitely a problem for your 52-48 Phillies.

But, this team was built on offense, and that aspect continues to come up small despite glimmers of hope that they’re turning things around. What was supposed to be a strength going into the season, scored nine runs in 29 innings against a team with the second worst ERA in the National League. The reasons the Phils took two out of three from the Pirates are Smyly, Suarez and bone spur stricken Jake Arrieta. 

If the Phillies hit as they were expected to, you wouldn’t need to worry about who was on the mound. If the Phils averaged more than 4.78 runs per game, you wouldn’t dread the days Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez or Nick Pivetta (demoted to the bullpen) toe the rubber. Their 478 total runs scored (8th in the NL) are less than the Nationals (483), Brewers (494), Cubs (502) and Braves (534). These are teams the Phillies are, or could be, chasing for a postseason spot. 

In terms of team batting average, the Phillies are 10th in the National League, hitting .243. That’s behind the Brewers (.249), Nationals (.255), Cubs (.255) and Braves (.262). The dreadful Mets are even better at .253, making the Phils second to last in the National League East, which isn’t the “juggernaut” division Bryce Harper too often calls it. Individually, no one on the Phillies is in the Top 25 of batting average in the NL, with Cesar Hernandez coming in at 27th (.280). No Phil cracks the Top 50 in MLB. 

Based on many press conferences and media availabilities over the past two seasons, Kapler will emphasize how drawing walks are very important. Individually, Rhys Hoskins (75) and Harper (65) are first and second, respectively, in the National League. Hoskins is eighth in on base percentage (.397), while Harper is 14th (.372). These numbers, along with Harper’s 29 doubles and 70 RBIs are why he’s still having a very good season. Hoskins the same—with 22 doubles, 21 home runs and 62 RBIs. But as a team, the Phils OBP is 10th in the National League (.322) and fourth in the division. Again—Atlanta, Chicago, Washington and Milwaukee are better.

Most maddening of all is the Phillies are 11th in total home runs in the National League, which is also good for fourth in the NL East. Aren’t the baseball allegedly juiced? 

No pitching move Klentak makes before the trade deadline will get the Phillies to October. It might make them better and potentially help them win low scoring series like they experienced in Pittsburgh over the weekend, but it won’t result in a clubhouse celebration full of champagne. In order for those bottles to be taken out of the cooler for the first time since 2011, the offense needs to start producing hits and scoring like it was built to. 

What they’re doing now is setting this season up to be one that fails to reach its goals.​