One of the core concepts upon which modern economic theory is built is that of Homo Economicus, an abstracted approximation of man that ruthlessly acts exclusively in his own self-interest. That I, or any other living person, watched the Sean O'Sullivan-led Phillies play the Mets at 1:10 PM this Wednesday afternoon represents as compelling an argument as there is against the reliability of a model built off of the idea of Homo Economicus. If I, or any of us, were at all concerned with maximizing our individual utility--measured in joy derived from watching baseball--we would take a couple years away from the Phillies to cheer for a fun young team like the Cubs or the Astros or the Royals.
Instead, here I am--and I suspect many of you joined me on this particular Wednesday afternoon in late May--watching the Phillies fall dramatically in defeat as a young highly-hyped pitcher and a not-old power-hitting first baseman dominated against the glorified AAA team that is the Phillies. It would be better for us and the world if we found something better to do with our Wednesday afternoons. A job or some volunteer work, perhaps. These would be better and more productive uses of our time. We are certainly not maximizing our utility or acting in our respective self interests carrying on like we are.
This Phillies game, just in case I haven't made it abundantly clear by now, was a painful, grueling experience. This was predictable with Sean O'Sullivan on the mound for the Phillies and someone-who-isn't-awful on the mound for the Mets. From the outset, the reviews of Sean O'Sullivan were simply stellar:
Man, Sean O'Sullivan of the Phillies is pretty much the most baseball player-shaped baseball player I've ever seen. Like a RBI Baseball guy.— David Roth (@david_j_roth) May 27, 2015
The quality of his performance followed suit. In the first inning, Lucas Duda, the third batter of the game, too a Sean O'Sullivan fastball for a home run to center field. The homeruns became a pattern for the Mets against O'Sullivan. In the third inning, after Daniel Murphy knocked Duda in from second with a single, Michael Cuddyer pulled a O'Sullivan curveball into the second deck in left-field for a two-run dinger.
The Phillies were down 4-0 after three innings, sparking the following speculations:
It just occurred to me the possibility exists that Sean O'Sullivan is not very good.— Corinne (@Ut26) May 27, 2015
I understand the likes of Harang and Williams but continuing to give Sean O'Sullivan starts is borderline hard tanking— Paul Boyé (@paul_boye) May 27, 2015
The most embarrassing of the four home runs O'Sullivan gave up came in the 4th inning as Mets rookie pitcher Noah Syndergaard hit a 400+ ft homerun to centerfield. Syndergaard went 3-for-3 against O'Sullivan today and looked like a competent hitter overall.
Despite being terrible, O'Sullivan went out for the 5th inning and Lucas Duda hit his first pitch into the Phillies bullpen, forcing Luis Garcia to employ elusive tactics to avoid the ball.
Yet, despite giving up 6 runs and four home runs over 5 innings, Sean O'Sullivan took the mound yet again in the sixth inning. Unsurprisingly, he gave up another run, only this time without any home runs. He was pulled after recording two outs in the 6th. Over 5.2 innings, O'Sullivan threw 99 pitches, gave up 11 hits, 1 walk, and 7 runs. That he ate innings and absorbed 99 pitches worth of strain is about all one could say in favor of O'Sullivan's performance today.
Meanwhile in Ohio:
Kyle Kendrick is at 61 pitches going to the bottom of the 8th. Not a misprint.— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) May 27, 2015
The Phillies offense offered little in the way of resistance. They only got 8 hits and their only extra base hit came from Andres Blanco with one out in the ninth inning.
In their 9 games since winning six in a row, the Phillies are 2-7 and have now lost 4 in a row. They're off tomorrow before playing fellow bad team The Rockies for three games over the weekend.
Comment of the game: "You guys are all just too dumb to appreciate the plan in action here. O'Sullivan is following through with it admirably." -HolyKrukingSchmidt
Freddy Galvis regression has been the opposite of fun to watch. Through May 15th, Galvis was hitting a shocking .355/.414/.413 or, 23% better than league average according to wRC+. Since May 15, he's hit .159/.196/.182. We all knew this was coming in some form or another, but that hasn't made it less aesthetically jarring.
Sean O'Sullivan has now given up 9 home runs in 33.2 innings this season. The quick and dirty interpretation of that is as follows: it's not particularly good.
Ryan Howard went 1-for-11 with 6 SO and 0 BB this series against the Mets. It remains to be seen whether his past two weeks were a sign of a true late-career renaissance or simply a fluky clustering of events.