When last we assessed the Phillies weekly performance they were in the midst of a week spent alternating wins and losses. Since then they’ve gone 6-3, including a four-game sweep of the first-place-going-into-the-series Brewers. That said, there have been some significant hiccups this week. Starting with those:
- Centerfield. Still. Basically every person they play in that position has had their share of defensive lapses, and with a bat in their hand they’ve been worse:
- The offense as a whole. While they’ve managed to scrape together some runs here and there, it’s really been quite a feast and then mostly famine down the stretch:
In their last 4 wins, all by 1 run, the Phils have held a multi-run lead by the end of the 3rd inning— Paul (@paul_boye) May 6, 2021
Their combined line from the 4th inning on in those last 4 wins: .079/.147/.095, 28 K in 70 PA
They did flip this script yesterday, scoring their two runs in the 7th and 8th innings. Still, not exactly explosive.
- Injuries continue. Bryce Harper, who had started the season scorching hot, has played in one game since April 28th as a result of a wrist injury initially sustained when he got hit in the face with a Genesis Cabrera pitch and it ricocheted off of his wrist. Roman Quinn, who had also seemed to be heating up after a got hit by a pitch resulting in a handful of stitches in his finger and a trip to the IL. Jojo Romero also was put on the IL with an elbow injury and Matt Joyce is out with a strained calf. Losing Harper is the big blow, but for a team with as little depth as the Phillies they all add up.
- Chase Anderson. Yes, he’s the 5th starter, so expectations are to be adjusted accordingly, but in six starts he’s pitched even the low bar of only 5 innings just twice, including 4.1 innings on Wednesday, a game the Phillies jumped out to a 5-0 lead on and slowly leaked runs the rest of the way, holding on to a 5-4 victory. The bullpen isn’t deep enough to handle 5 innings of work each of his turns through the lineup.
- David Hale. He’s been bad, and is a one of the reasons why no lead really seems safe at this point. Most recently on Wednesday he relieved Aaron Nola’s 6 innings of one-run ball by giving up 3 runs in zero innings pitched. The bright side is that his continued shakiness may be getting to the point where Girardi stops going to him in all but mop up duty.
- This past series. A 4-game sweep of a division-leading team is always a nice feeling.
- The top three starters. They continue to be dominant. As schmenkman pointed out in our contributor slack, after Wheeler’s 8 strikeout, 0 walk, complete game shutout last night, 3 of the top 11 pitchers in baseball (by fWAR) are Phillies:
- Didi Gregorius. Fresh off the covid IL he’s come back to provide some of the offensive spark that has been missing with Harper out of the line up
- Andrew McCutchen. In the past week Cutch has 9 hits, six of which have gone for extra bases (4 HR, 2 2B) and three walks. He’s still striking out at a career-high pace, but so is everyone else across the sport, and it’s definitely nice to see him squaring up some balls.
- The standings! Check it out:
While the record has been good the past week, it has not been without its challenges. I didn’t mention Girardi trying to bring a pitcher into the game who was not listed on the umpire’s lineup card fiasco, nor did I rehash the Hall of Fame caliber blown umpire call this past weekend, because a weekly snapshot is all about what’s they’ve done for us lately, and that is swept the Brewers series.
I therefore rate this week a 7 out of 10. It’s like that freeing, jubilant feeling when you first get over a bout of lots of diarrhea. (In this analogy the bout of diarrhea was the 3-8 stretch in the middle weeks of April)