The Phillies started off their most recent road trip with an impressive 2-1 win over Sandy Alcantara and the Marlins, but the trip did not end as well as it started. After winning the first two games in Miami, the Phillies lost their next four games. They head back to Philadelphia two games ahead of the Brewers for the third wild card spot in the National League.
What went wrong while in Miami and Atlanta? One word. Offense.
The Phillies scored six runs in their second game against the Marlins but failed to score more than three runs in any of the other five games of the road trip. A struggling offense is not new, as the team has struggled to score runs throughout the entire month of September. They are averaging just 3.87 runs per game in their fifteen games this month.
One of the biggest issues for the offense during the road trip was the lack of production from their best hitters. Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto went a combined 10-for-65 in Miami and Atlanta.
Rhys Hoskins suffered a hand contusion in Miami, and after missing three games, returned to the lineup on Sunday. Hoskins went 0-9 on the road trip.
As a whole, during their six games against the Marlins and Braves, the Phillies’ offense hit .212/.280/.384. They scored only eighteen runs over that span.
When the Phillies were able to get runners on base, they were not able to convert those base runners into runs. During the road trip, the Phillies were 6 for 38 with runners in scoring position and left 38 runners on base.
In 18 opportunities with runners in scoring position over their last two games in Atlanta, the Phillies’ offense went 2 for 18, leaving 15 runners on base.
Other than Seranthony Dominguez‘s collapse in the 8th inning of the series opener in Atlanta, the pitching staff held up over the six-game road trip. They got solid outings from their starters, who pitched a total of 35.2 innings and gave up just 12 earned runs.
Bailey Falter made two starts during the road trip and pitched well in both. He pitched 10.2 innings while giving up 8 hits and 2 earned runs. He walked 2 and struck out 7 during those two starts. Falter has now pitched 73.1 innings on the year with a 3.68 ERA.
The Phillies will begin their final home stand of the season on Tuesday night. They start by playing a quick two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto swept the Phillies in a two-game series north of the border back in July. The Phillies then play a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves.
Wheeler coming back will surely be an upgrade to the Phillies’ rotation. To make room in the rotation for Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard will be used out of the bullpen. Syndergaard will be the first pitcher used once Wheeler is removed from his starts the next two turns through the rotation according to Phillies’ manager Rob Thomson.
In other injury news for the Phillies, there is no current timetable for the return of Nick Castellanos, who is suffering from a strained oblique. Edmundo Sosa, who suffered a strained hamstring in Miami, won’t be back until October at the earliest.
There is no question the upcoming four-game series against the Braves will be the most important series for the Phillies this season. They cannot overlook the Blue Jays though, who come to Philadelphia in the middle of a playoff race of their own. Depending on how the Toronto series plays out, the Phillies could be on the outside looking in when it comes to the N.L. Wild Card standings.
As of now, through 146 games, the Phillies have a record of 80-66. With sixteen games left to play, and a two-game lead over the Brewers for the final playoff spot in the National League, things have gotten interesting for a team looking to avoid another September collapse.
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