In case you didn’t see over the weekend, the Phillies got swept by the San Francisco Giants. The Phils were shut out on Friday and Saturday and only managed to score one run Sunday, via a Jake Arrieta home run. Arrieta after the game had this to say:
Arrieta makes a great point. The Phillies haven’t defended within the shift well all season. Yesterday and Sunday, April 29th against the Braves’ Nick Markakis immediately come to mind where the Phillies poor defense combined with shifting to shut down a pull hitter not only failed against that batter but extended the inning for the opposing team.
Now, that’s not to say the Phillies going 2-5 in the last week is all due to the defensive woes. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before but the Phillies’ bats continue to struggle and only managed to amount 15 hits across the entire series in San Fran. It doesn’t matter how Nick Pivetta might struggle (3 runs over 4 innings on Friday). It’s a waste of a solid Vince Velasquez road start (1 run & 9 strikeouts over 6.1 innings). It’s the reason why the Giants can have the confidence to put up five runs in the sixth after Arrieta pitched five solid innings yesterday. The bats need to be better. The defense needs to be better. Hell, the bullpen looked fairly solid this series (3 runs over 7.2 innings of relief) and if you take away Hector Neris (2 runs in 2 innings), that’s pretty solid.
To put things into perspective, Odubel Herrera went from having the best batting average in the NL when Matty D and I recorded the “Phillies Special” podcast on May 17th only have his BA to drop to .305 through yesterday. Once hit on-base streak ended, Odubel has floundered to this position. We know he can be better, he needs to rebound. Could we use more Cesar Hernandez and Carlos Santana hits, sure, but both draw walks left and right. Santana will have to improve his .218 BA, but a 1 for 1, 3 walk day isn’t too bad when the bats around you are ice cold.
I’m happy to see Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro bat 4th and 5th, respectively after they each had a solid May–Williams batted .293 while Alaro batted .307. Like the rest of the team, both batted poorly in San Francisco but they should take Rhys Hoskins’ absence as an opportunity to step up their games further.
The bottom part of the lineup needs some shaking up. Scott Kingery needs to gain a little confidence and find the swing he had in his first series as a Phillie–hopefully, I won’t need to continue repeating that. Mikel Franco continues to have as BA float between .250 and .260 and his spot in the batting order has moved up and down accordingly. With the recent injuries, we have to play the waiting game with Kingery and hope he figures it out and Franco just needs more consistency. Aaron Altherr is probably counting his days as a Phillie. With Dylan Cozens up and Rhys Hoskins available to be activated on June 9th, Altherr hasn’t stepped up in Hoskins’ absence and his BA continues to fly under the Mendoza line. I’d DFA (designate for assignment) Altherr and let Cozens develop in the Bigs. You can DFA Neris while you’re at it, but you’ve definitely heard me sing that tune before.
The Phillies road trip continues Tuesday night at Wrigley Field with Zach Eflin scheduled to face Kyle Hendricks. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 ET.Follow @geordo9