NL East

Errors, Strikeouts, and Wasted Opportunities: The Phillies Continue to Struggle

The Phillies are struggling. They are lucky they play in such a weak division as the NL East has one team over .500 while the other four teams fight for second place. The Phillies fluctuate up and down despite superb starting pitching from Zack Wheeler, and more recently, Vince Velasquez while Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola continue to pitch fairly well. What plagues the Phillies are the struggling defense, growing strikeout rates among their hitters, and the wasted scoring opportunities. (Note: stats are as of the end of play on May 29)

Didi Gregorious commits an error. Photograph by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Phillies have struggled defensively all season. They currently sit at a team fielding percentage of .984, which is barely above league average. They are tied for last in defensive runs saved at -28 while pitchers and center fielders on the Phillies have the only positive defensive runs saved at 4 and 7, respectively. Shortstop and third base both have defensive runs saved over -8 with 3B being -12. Alec Bohm and the now injured Didi Gregorius have both looked awful in their respective fielding positions. The defensive miscues are severely hurting the pitching and the team as the costly errors lead to opposing runs which then leaves the Phillies offense the task of scoring runs, but the Phillies are struggling offensively too.

Bryce Harper strikes out to end the game in a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark. Photograph by Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are striking out too much. At the time of this writing, they sit at third with the most strikeouts in all of baseball behind the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers. As a team, they have already passed their 2020 mark for strikeouts in only took 47 games. Three players already have over 50 strikeouts: Hoskins, McCutchen, and Bohm. The Phillies also have the fourth most strikeouts in the league when runners are in scoring position. At the time of this writing, they have reached double-digit strikeouts in 30 games with over half of those at 13 strikeouts or more! This team is striking out an alarming rate that is killing scoring opportunities thus leading to losses.

Hoskins out at second in a double play. Photograph by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

At the time of this writing, the Phillies are tied for 8th most runners left on base so far this season. This team is leaving too many runners on base thus leading to a lack of scoring. They’re 18th in runs scored with runners in scoring position while also 7th in the league for the most grounded into double plays. They are not taking advantage of scoring opportunities. Batters are hitting into double plays, or as stated above, striking out too much. Their average number of runs scored this season is 4.00 sits in the bottom half of the league.

Roman Quinn, unproductive with his at bat. Photograph by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

All in all, the Phillies are struggling defensively and offensively. They have had some strong starting pitching only to be squandered by bad errors and lack of offense. The defense has huge problems everywhere except for pitchers and center fielders. Bohm looks abysmal at third base while Gregorious was struggling at shortstop even before his injury. Phillies hitters are striking out at a record pace as they continue to strike out in run-scoring situations. The Phillies as a team are also leaving way too many men on base whether via the strikeout or are eliminating runners through the double play. The Phillies have glaring problems that need addressing in order for the team to be successful for the rest of the season.

Erin Becker

Erin is a rare Phillies fan from Ohio. She has been a fan of the team since she was 5. She has her History degree from THE Ohio State University. She lives and breathes baseball whether the MLB or minor league baseball. She has aspirations to attend Graduate School.

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