October 2, 2023

Phillies swept after ninth straight loss against Rangers


Tony Gutierrez/AP Image

After a day off filled with suits and fedoras, the Phillies were unable to translate their momentum from the Capital to the Lone Star State. The Phillies lost all four games against the Rangers in 2022, and they will not have an easy task as they are set to play four games in San Diego. The bottom of the lineup struggled to get on base, the fundamentals were abysmal, and the Phils are finally facing their first adversity under Rob Thomson.

Game summaries

Both squads got off to a slow start in game one, but the Rangers got it going quickly in the fifth inning—Nate Lowe and Jonah Heim hit back-to-back home runs off of Phillies’ starter Kyle Gibson. Gibson threw the ball very well outside of those two at-bats.

The Rangers added one more run thanks to a weak groundball that beat the shift.

Martin Perez, the Rangers starter, got into a few jams, but he made it through six scoreless innings. Perez struck out six.

With the Phillies down three in the seventh inning, Jeurys Familia relieved Gibson and let four runs cross the plate through 1.1 innings. He allowed Marcus Semien and Kole Calhoun to each hit a two-run homer, putting this game out of reach for the Phillies.

Zack Wheeler took the bump for the Phillies in game two of this interleague series. Wheeler struggled to command his fastball, but the Phils’ defense was no help.

Rhys Hoskins was the only Phillie to commit an error, but there were various fundamental mistakes made throughout the game. Nick Castellanos cut off Odubel Herrera on a groundball to right-center field, allowing Josh Smith to score from first base.

One inning later, Kyle Schwarber hit his nineteenth home run of the season, tying the game at two apiece.

Unfortunately, the Phillies’ lead did not last for long—Kole Calhoun hit a slow roller up the middle to score Corey Seager from third base.

Kole Calhoun was 2-4 with two RBI in Wednesday’s contest.

The Rangers added one more run to the board in the fifth, and the Phillies were unable to come back. The 4-2 loss gave the Rangers the season sweep of the Phillies.

Failing to take advantage

At the end of the game, the Phillies were not at all phased.

Bryce Harper told the media that he is “…all about the next one… [The Phillies are] a great team. There’s going to be a playoff atmosphere.”

Rob Thomson said that the Phillies “…just need to move on to tomorrow… This is a good ball club.”

Nick Castellanos made the analogy that “[e]very storm only has so much rain.”

While the positive attitude is encouraging from a fan’s perspective, how much damage could this storm cause? The Phillies are now just two games over .500 and 8.5 games back of the Mets. They’re three games out of the Wild Card, but they are traveling to San Diego for a three-game set against the Padres—the team sitting atop the Wild Card standings.

At this point in the season, we have no way of knowing how much the Phillies’ season could be impacted by being swept by the Rangers twice. In recent years, we have seen the Phillies’ struggles in Miami come back to bite them. While four games might not seem that important, we have seen a division title come down to one game plenty of times over the past decade. And with the Phillies playing the Padres for the next four days, it is crucial that the Phillies get back on track quickly.

The bottom of the lineup

While it might work in theory, Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, and Bryce Harper will not be able to carry the Phillies every night. With this said, it became clear how much the bottom of the lineup is struggling. Odubel Herrera is seven for his last 45 and has an OPS under .500 in his last 15 games. Bryson Stott is still hitting well under .200, and Alec Bohm’s slash line has dropped all the way down to .256/.294/.372. Somehow, Didi Gregorius is still homerless through 115 at-bats.

The Phillies simply need more production out of these four. Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins can get cold fast, Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto are both having the worst seasons of their careers, and Bryce Harper’s injury status is always an unknown thanks to his UCL tear.

Rob Thomson said that he thought Bryson Stott’s at-bats were better, but right now, the Phillies only need production.

The Phillies will travel to San Diego to face Manny Machado and the Padres in a four-game series.

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