I’m not sure how many weeks it will be before I just write this post in the same vein of home team’s fans when the opposing individual players in their lineup are announced, and just submit the post as: “SUCKS!” That I’m even doing the math on it says less than great things about the week past.
Since last weeks’ installment the Phillies have gone 3-4 in alternating games, which, while frustrating, isn’t on its face horrible. The way they went about it, however, has been less than inspiring. In those 7 games, the Phillies allowed 43 runs, including Wheeler’s 8-inning, one-hit, nine-strikeout, one-run beast of a game on Monday, while scoring 30. Yes, some of those runs allowed came in a game that got out of hand early in Coors Field; still, being outscored by almost 50% over the course of a week is not something generally seen in winning teams.
For now, we stick with the good first:
- The aforementioned Wheeler start. 8 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 9 SO. Dominant.
- Rhys Hoskins. Over the past week Hoskins has launched 6 HR in 7 games, taking the major league lead. As John Stolnis broke down earlier this week, Hoskins’ success has come in an atypical (for him) way, and looks to be unlikely to be sustained in its current highly aggressive, all-swing-and-no-walk form, but home runs are home runs.
- Bryce Harper (again). The guy is playing at an MVP (non-Trout division — for fun, look up what Mike Trout is doing so far this year. He’s currently beyond Bondsian.) level. On the season he’s hitting .319/.449/.625, with a wRC+ of 186. The only season he’s ever eclipsed that rate was his 9.3 fWAR, MVP season of 2015.
- JT Realmuto. While Hoskins’ long balls and Harper’s overall excellence have garnered the headlines, JT has quietly thrown up a .333/.436/.515 slash line, good for a 161 wRC+. That’s fueled by a BABIP 60 points above his career high, but this is a retrospective column, not a futurism column, so what he’s done is what he’s done, and when coupled with his elite defense behind the plate he’s been one of the Phillies best players.
- For as bad as everything has been, this:
- Odubel Herrera returns. With Adam Haseley walking away from the sport for now, and Mickey Moniak looking mostly overmatched at the major league level, the Phillies hit the panic button and promoted Odubel Herrera to the big league club, immediately anointing him the starting CF. It’s a disgrace. Herrera was the worst CF in spring training, has not been a good major league player in half a decade, and, most importantly, has been credibly accused of domestic abuse. I could, almost, countenance an argument for giving an exceptionally talented player, who has publicly expressed remorse and atoned for their actions, a second chance at a major league opportunity. Herrera checks maybe one of those three boxes. Maybe. And therefore, this is simply an awful turn of events. The Phillies ought to be ashamed of themselves. If you’re really panicking, use Kingery in center. Sure, he can’t really hit at this level either, but he’s younger, defensively solid, and hasn’t been charged with crimes which should be mostly disqualifying from playing professional sports.
- Everything else. There are lots of additional things I could list here this week. The assorted injuries that have exposed their lack of depth. Their weekly Pythagorean winning percentage. Roman Quinn remaining an offensive wasteland. Alec Bohm continuing to struggle. Having to watch a 427 year old Adam Wainwright mow down the Phillies yet again (although the good guys did eventually win that game). The Phillies deciding, on an apparent whim, to stretch out Spencer Howard as a starter, but one who might be an opener(??) when they need to just let their damn prospects develop on their initial paths. Andrew McCutchen remaining simply broken and looking like he may have hit the point of no return in his career, which would be a devastating blow to the Phillies’ chances this season. While CF wasn’t expected to contribute all that much, they needed at least average to above-average production out of LF. None of that, however, registers next to the Herrera situation. The man just should not be on a major league baseball team.
I rate this week a zero. The team performance is what it is, but the extenuating circumstances are intolerable. To atone for my lamentably unending following of the Phillies, who’ve performed mediocrely on the field this week, I’ve donated to Women Against Abuse, a Philadelphia based Women’s shelter and support organization.