The possibility of the Phillies missing the playoffs this year will be summed up to them falling short in all the moments that mattered.
There have been a handful of must-wins series since the All-Star Break, which the Phillies have failed to win. The 2019 season will have an asterisk next to it due to all the injuries, but this current version of the team has shown zero urgency to win on the field.
Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and JT Realmuto have yet to click offensively all at the same time. The Phillies will only go as far as their “Big 3” will take them. There isn’t a lack of top-tier talent on this Phillies roster anymore, so they’re hard-pressed using that as an excuse. Since the All-Star Break, Hoskins has been abysmal but seems to be turning it around in his last seven games, as his OBP is .389. He finally hit a homer to salvage Cesar Hernandez lack of hustle.
If Rhys can start to turn around his second half offensively, the Phillies Big 3 at-bats could carry them down the stretch to a Wild Card berth. Luckily, Cory Dickerson has been carrying a lot of weight for Hoskins since joining the team. Dickerson has the highest OPS on the team at .903 and has driven in 18 runs in his last 15 games.
The Phillies bullpen has been a diamond in the rough. Somehow Matt Klentak has been able to piece together a formidable bullpen out of nothing. Late in games, the Phillies are turning to Jared Hughes and Mike Morin to provide high leverage outs. Pick which “late in games” you want to use…either beginning or end of a sentence. After Hector Neris blew another save against the Pirates Monday night, Morin was able to pitch two innings without giving up a run. This allowed for Sean Rodriguez’s walk-off home run.
Outside of Aaron Nola, the Phillies’ starting pitching rotation is full of Number Five starters. Jason Vargas, Vince Velasquez, Drew Smyly, and Zach Eflin would not even be in consideration to be on teams like the Astros, Yankees, or Dodgers. How the Phillies haven’t collapsed entirely like the 2018 season with this current pitching staff is miraculous.
No matter what the regular season outcome, Matt Klentak deserves endless praise this offseason. The amount of injuries the Phillies have had to battle through is staggering. Klentak found a way to piece together the rest of the team that has allowed the Phillies to stay in the playoff hunt all year long.
Now it’s time for the players to play up to expectations.
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