The Philadelphia Phillies were expected to be one of the best teams in the MLB this season, and were even predicted by many to be World Series contenders. This came after a wild offseason in which they acquired perennial all-stars such as Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson. The team has struggled to meet expectations, and their playoff chances are hanging by a thread.
The team got off to a great start, and by the end of May, they had a record of 33-24 which was good enough for tops in the NL East standings. Fans were loving the teams play and hoped for more of the same throughout the season. In June, however, the team lost McCutchen to injury which proved to be a major loss. During the month of June, the Phillies struggled mightily, losing 16 of 27 games, and watched the Braves and Nationals overtake them in the division race.
The Phillies made several moves at the trade deadline this season including the acquisitions of Corey Dickerson, Jason Vargas, Jared Hughes and Blake Parker. However, the team has missed out on several players that could have made a difference, such as Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel. Out of the players that the Phillies have acquired, the only one that has stood out is Dickerson, who provided a valuable offensive display before being shut down in early September with a foot injury. Keuchel has played well for the Braves this season, and could have provided the Phillies a boost in their pitching rotation, which has pitched poorly as a unit this season with the exception of Aaron Nola.
Poor pitching has plagued the Phillies all season. The team ranks in the middle of the league with a 4.51 earned run average (ERA) per game. The bullpen has been mounted by injuries throughout the season and has been a weakness of the team. The team has lost key pitchers such as Pat Neshek, David Robertson, Seranthony Dominguez, Tommy Hunter and Victor Arano, and the team has struggled to replace them. The bullpen has blown over 20 leads this season, which is arguably the biggest weakness of the team.
The offense has not played up to their standards either. Players such as Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto and Jean Segura have had good seasons offensively, but as a whole, the offensive unit has failed to meet expectations. They are ranked in the middle of the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. The offense was so shaky that the team fired hitting coach John Malle in the middle of the season and promoted former manager Charlie Manuel to take his spot. The team has performed better since Manuel’s return, but they have struggled to make a consistent run at the postseason.
The Phillies are currently in the hunt for a NL Wild Card spot, but it will be very hard to get into the postseason. They are currently behind the Cubs, Nationals and Brewers, and unless they make a late season run, they will fail to make it back to the playoffs for the eighth straight year.
Erick Klambara is a first-year student majoring in media and cultures. EK924666@wcupa.edu