Phillies Shockingly Come Up Small Against World Series Contenders


Jake Diekman continues to throw pitches for the Phillies. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the day, the Phillies simply didn’t have the bullets in the gun necessary to compete.

Let’s not kid ourselves. The recently completed 1-8 road trip that took the Phils through New York, St. Louis and Detroit, culminating in Sunday’s 12-4 destruction at the hands of the Tigers, was the nail in the Phillies’ coffin. The road trip that was to define the Phillies 2013 season did exactly that.

An eight-game losing streak was just what the doctor ordered.

The Phils were outscored by 38 runs during this eight-game losing streak, pushing their season-long run differential to -78, the second worst number in the National League. And look out Marlins, that -93 run differential you’re toting around is in danger!

The Phillies are now 49-56 and 11 games out of first place in the NL East. They will likely soon be passed by the Mets, who are just 1 1/2 games behind the Phils. And the Phillies capped off their road trip from hell in grand fashion on Sunday, blowing a 3-0 lead in one of the most spectacularly horrific innings every played in the history of Phillies baseball.

I’m not exaggerating. Here’s how the Phillies gave up eight runs in the sixth inning on Sunday, ALL OF THEM UNEARNED.

  • Pitching Change: Jake Diekman replaces Jonathan Pettibone.
  • 1.Andy Dirks walks.
  • 2.Alex Avila reaches on a throwing error by pitcher Jake Diekman. Andy Dirks to 2nd.
  • 3.Ramon Santiago singles on a bunt ground ball to pitcher Jake Diekman. Andy Dirks to 3rd. Alex Avila to 2nd.
  • 4.Austin Jackson flies out to right fielder Laynce Nix.
  • 5.Don Kelly hits a sacrifice fly. Fielding error by left fielder Steve Susdorf. Andy Dirks scores. Alex Avila to 3rd. Ramon Santiago to 2nd. Don Kelly to 1st.
  • Pitching Change: Luis Garcia replaces Jake Diekman.
  • 6.Matt Tuiasosopo walks. Alex Avila scores. Ramon Santiago to 3rd. Don Kelly to 2nd.
  • 7.Prince Fielder reaches on a force attempt, throwing error by first baseman Darin Ruf. Ramon Santiago scores. Don Kelly to 3rd. Hernan Perez to 2nd.
  • 8.Victor Martinez walks. Don Kelly scores. Hernan Perez to 3rd. Prince Fielder to 2nd.
  • Coaching visit to mound (it didn’t help)
  • 9.Jhonny Peralta hits a grand slam (10) to left field. Hernan Perez scores. Prince Fielder scores. Victor Martinez scores.
  • Pitching Change: Antonio Bastardo replaces Luis Garcia.
  • 10.Andy Dirks strikes out swinging.
  • 11.Alex Avila called out on strikes.

So now the Phillies return home to start a series at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday. They do so with their closer, Jonathan Papelbon, trying to talk his way out of town. They do so with Jimmy Rollins, the guy who doesn’t worry, saying this is as low as things can get.

"“If there’s a bottom, this has to be it,” Rollins said. “I can’t imagine things getting worse than they have this past week, culminating the way they did today.”"

No one who follows the Phillies wants them to lose. No one who truly cares about the team wants them to be embarrassed. However, if this team wasn’t going to truly be a World Series contender (and even when they were over .500 the signs were there this was not that kind of team), then what truly needed to happen to wake everyone up in the front office was a massive, complete and total epic failure against two of the best teams in baseball.

Ruben Amaro is now officially a “seller.” That likely means he’s listening to offers on anyone and everyone, although the degree to which he’s listening on various players is different, based on the player.

It’s going to take a massive offer for the Phillies to trade Cliff Lee. If the Red Sox want him, it’s going to cost them Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley Jr. If they’re going to give up Chase Utley, it’s going to take a team’s second or third-best prospect, and it’s more likely Utley signs an extension with the Phillies before the deadline. Michael Young is going to get traded. Carlos Ruiz may go as well. Ruben will need to smother someone with an ether-soaked rag to get rid of Jonathan Papelbon or Delmon Young.

An intriguing name who could be on the move is Kyle Kendrick, although if the Phillies want to compete in 2014, they’re going to need him. And Jimmy Rollins isn’t going anywhere. He has a full no-trade clause and said this weekend he’s not interested in leaving the Phillies.

Nonetheless, the road trip that would not end has now ended, and the Phils have made decision-making much easier for Ruben Amaro & Co. to make.

If there’s any silver lining to take out of such a horrible week of baseball, that is it.

It’s time to think about 2014. Anything to wipe away the memory of this last week.