If there was any doubt that the Philadelphia Phillies still have a long way to go before they are competitive again, there isn’t after the New York Mets came to town.
The NL East-leading Mets swept the Phillies this week in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park, including a 9-5 win on Thursday night in 13 innings. The Phillies have now lost to the Mets 12 out of 13 times this year and still have to play them six more times before the season comes to an end.
With the sweep, any lingering thoughts about the Phillies making an improbable run at a wildcard spot after getting so hot after the All-Star break have vanished. The team has returned to the MBL basement with a record of 50-78 and are on track to lose 98 games this season.
So what happened to the team that was winning game after game in July? To hear Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin tell it the bullpen, the one bright spot on this roster going into the season, is overworked and exhausted to due to the starting pitching being so terrible.
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How bad was the starting pitching in the series against the Mets? They gave up 17 earned runs in 21 innings over the course of the four game series for an ERA of 7.29.
Yes, that bad.
The bullpen then had to go out and pick up 19 innings to add to a season total of 425 2/3 innings on the year so far, good for third most in MLB. The Phillies have only gotten 707 1/3 innings from their starting rotation this season, which is second worst in the league behind the Colorado Rockies.
The Phillies bats continue to be hot and for once, hitting isn’t the issue. A couple of the games against the Mets were very winnable, a sentiment shared by Phillies right fielder Jeff Francoeur:
“The thing that sucks is we were legitimately in some games. We just had a tough time keeping them off the scoreboard. Those guys are really swinging the bats and feeling confident.”
It’s safe to say that one of the first items on the new GM’s to-do list next season will be to totally revamp the Phillies starting rotation. Aaron Nola should be the only starting pitcher who returns next season and hopefully both Aaron Harang (ERA of 4.79) and Jerome Williams (ERA of 6.13) will both be shown the door the moment the season comes to an end.
Maybe they can catch a ride out of town with Ruben Amaro Jr.
The post All-Star honeymoon was fun, but it disguised the fact that this team still has a lot to do before they can be mentioned in the same breath as the word “postseason” and not have it induce fits of laughter. The rebuild is far from over and while we now have some good, young talent to build on, there is still a very long ways to go.
Of course, it would have to be the Mets to demonstrate that fact to everyone in Philadelphia. Francoeur said it best:
“It stinks because of all the Mets fans coming in here. It stinks to get swept.”
(All quotes via CSN Philly.com)