Just two weeks ago, the Phillies were in the middle of an eight-game win streak, wrapping up a four-game series sweep against the Nationals and preparing to sweep a three-game set against the Mets to take first place in the National League East. Oh, how the turntables have turned. The Arizona Diamondbacks are the worst team in the National League, and the second-worst team in all of baseball. At times this season, they have looked like contenders for the worst team in recent MLB history. Yet when facing the Phillies this week, they magically turned into a playoff-worthy looking team with a reliable pitching staff and an offense capable of producing runs up and down the lineup. It’s truly inspiring.
Prior to this game, Zack Wheeler was one of the clear front-runners for the NL Cy Young award. While I don’t think this one bad outing will do significant damage to his chance at winning the Cy, the bigger issue here is that the Phillies needed their ace to help get them back on track and save them from a downright embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Instead, Wheeler turned in the worst start so far in his tenure in Philadelphia. While the rest of the team has been a rollercoaster of “will they or won’t they” when it comes to performing this season, Wheeler has been the only player who has been consistently reliable. But I guess even Wheeler’s magic couldn’t last forever.
The good news is that even with this loss, the Phillies are only four games behind Atlanta and the Braves aren’t playing today. And while they only have a .5 game lead over the Mets, our friends to the north are set to open a four-game series against the MLB-leading Dodgers. Hopefully the Phils can figure out what went wrong in Arizona by the time they open their next series in San Diego tomorrow, and get back on the right track.