Six straight wins, 13 of 15, big series against the 1st place Braves at home, and the Phillies… get swept.
Yes, the Phillies lost both games to the Braves this week, 4-2 on Tuesday and 5-1 on Thursday. Wednesday’s game was postponed and will be made up as part of a split double-header on September 11th.
The hype coming into this series was at a season-high. This was a golden opportunity to get right back in the division race, and the Phils just did not play good baseball. They are now 10 games behind the Braves for 1st place in the NL East.
I’d like to highlight 2 plays that absolutely drove me up a wall.
First, JT, WHERE WERE YOU GOING?
Of course, I am referring to when JT Realmuto decided he was going to try to stretch a single into a double with 2 outs in the 8th inning of Tuesday’s game, where if he simply stayed at first, the Phillies would have brought the tying run to the plate.
Why did he think this was smart? I really don’t know. It’s baseball 101; you do not take chances on the base paths like that in that situation. You just don’t.
I know Rob Thomson is not the type of manager to do this, but that’s the kind of stuff that players should be benched for.
And then there is Thursday’s game, where Kyle Schwarber simply dropped a fly ball hit to him with 2 outs in the 10th and runners on 2nd and 3rd with the score 1-0 Atlanta.
If Schwarber makes that play, the Phillies get a chance to bat only down 1 with a runner starting the inning on 2nd base. Instead, it hits off his glove, and 2 runs score. The next batter, Marcell Ozuna. What does he do? 2-run homer, 5-0 Braves.
Oh, and the fact that the play was scored a hit is an absolute crime.
The Phillies cannot keep running Kyle Schwarber out to left field every game. The problem is, they pretty much have to with Bryce Harper forced to DH until at least the All-Star break, as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery.
The only other option would be to put Schwarber at 1st base and have Christian Pache play left. Schwarber has played 1st at times throughout his career and it has not gone well, but it can’t be much worse than this right?
While the Phils did not play clean baseball at all this series, and that is certainly a major reason why they were swept, you cannot win many ball games when you don’t score runs.
The offense could only muster 2 runs on Tuesday, not for a lack of opportunities. They went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and had the leadoff man aboard in 3 of the first 4 innings against Spencer Strider. They scored 0 times in those innings.
On Thursday, the only run they scored was essentially a pity run already down 5-0 in the 10th.
Bryce Elder deserves a lot of credit, as he went 7 shutout innings and only allowed 3 hits. At the same time, however, this is your division rival and they are in 1st place, the offense needed to show up. Just 1 run in the first 9 innings could have won the game.
The Phillies have a 3 game series with the struggling New York Mets at CBP this weekend. They have not won a series over the Mets since August of 2021 and were swept up at Citi Field earlier this season. The Phillies NEED to at least win the series this weekend. If they cannot beat this Mets team, we have a big problem.