The Phillies flew out west to begin a seven-game road trip starting on Monday. The trip included three games against the Seattle Mariners and now four with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They began the trip with a 9-0 win on Monday night. They followed that with a 5-4 loss on Tuesday. They wrapped up the series with a 4-2 win on Wednesday thanks to a grand slam from Rhys Hoskins. They then won a game 9-7 last night. The game featured the Phillies jumping out to a 7-1 lead and blowing it, yet again. Thankfully, the offense was able to rally around a manager who routinely tries to lose games and a bullpen full of Corey Knebel and AA relievers.
This can’t go on. For the Phillies to win games and make the playoffs, two things need to happen. The first is fixing the bullpen, again. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Phillies bullpen is absolute garbage. They can’t get outs. They waste quality starts every night. They blow leads. Other than Knebel, everyone needs to be replaced. The second thing that needs to happen is Joe Girardi needs to be fired. The sooner, the better. If they won’t fire him, at least tell him to stay in the dugout. He puts his players in terrible positions. No wonder why the Phillies can’t develop young talent. They are always put in bad spots. They brought up Francisco Morales to help a struggling bullpen. In about a week, he has pitched two innings. This is not a recipe for success with young players. It’s mind-blowing that I have to write this.
The offense is going to continue to hit. They are at or near the top of major categories in the National League. They continue to produce while not having a leadoff hitter. Kyle Schwarber has been a boom-or-bust guy so far. Castellanos has been money. Harper, with one elbow, has been very good and trending upward. Segura has been the best overall hitter. Bohm seems to have found his rookie year stroke, which is huge. Hoskins, although not producing as well as the rest of the lineup, remains clutch. Odubel Herrera has played well defensively in center and limited the number of mistakes he makes offensively. Roman Quinn still is one of the fastest players in baseball. JT Realmuto is up to .264/.328/.377 now, so he’s getting back on track. Bryson Stott has struggled playing every day in the majors, maybe he needs a bit more time in AAA when Didi returns.
The rotation has also been very good. Right now, Kyle Gibson has been the Phillies’ best starter. He boasts a 3-1 record, 2.94 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and has pitched in 33.2 innings in six games. Nola’s record is not indicative of his season thus far. He’s sitting at 1-4 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. All he has to do is cut down on the home runs allowed. That seems to be the story with all of the Phillies’ pitchers at this point. Wheeler sits at 1-3, though he should have gotten a win last night if the bullpen and Girardi wanted to win the game, with a 4.26 ERA, and 1.26 WHIP. Not great from your ace. The Phillies need Wheeler to be dominant every time he gets the ball. He has been good, but not dominant. The bullpen and manager are certainly capable of losing them games, he has to make sure he doesn’t allow them to. Ranger Suarez has started well. He has compiled a 3-1 record with a 3.68 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. The WHIP is obviously extremely high and will end up hurting him at some point, but the stuff from Suarez has been good enough to help him get by. At this point in his career, we haven’t seen Suarez where he needs to pitch without having his best stuff. It’s a good thing that we haven’t seen it, but if there’s an area that is concerning, it would be how he manages lineups when he just doesn’t have it. Can he get guys to make mistakes and get themselves out? That remains to be seen.