The Philadelphia Phillies got off to a hot start over the 2016 season’s first six weeks, but have been mired in a month-long slump.
Every Phillies fan was undoubtedly pleasantly surprised by the team’s magnificent start to the 2016 season, since most estimates of where they would finish involved somewhere near dead last with about 100 losses.
Early on in the season the Phillies were in the NL Wildcard hunt, and at one time were even tied atop the division (keeping in mind it was through roughly 45 games).
With the longest homestand of the season to end May and start up June featuring no shortage of powerful opponents, it was proving time for the Phillies, and arguably do-or-die despite it still being early in the season.
The NL East-leading Nationals were the first test the Phillies would have, and they failed horribly. After getting swept at home by the Nats over three games by a cumulative score of 16-6, things were not looking good.
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Next came a split of a four-game series with the lowly Milwaukee Brewers, and the Phillies and their fans then had to look forward to facing the premiere team in the majors, the Chicago Cubs.
The youth that once powered this team early on in those opening weeks seemed to be slowly fading back to the below-average status expected prior to the season.
World Series hero Ryan Howard was benched, and Phillies fans were painfully reminded over and over that the former NL MVP was now hitting well below the .170 mark.
Needless to say, things have not been good for the Phillies lately. What many would say is their true form is beginning to show. The winning of one run games which carried them no longer is coming so easily.
Many fans have said they saw this coming, since while the Phillies were well above the .500 mark their run differential was in the -30’s consistently. The team was generally winning games by one or two runs and was not scoring a ton of runs on the offensive side.
Starting pitcher Vincent Velasquez was in top form early on and excited the fan base. He has quickly gone cold and is now injured. Adam Morgan looks like he should not even be in the Majors after getting beaten up yet again by the Nationals in his most recent start.
Shockingly, allowing three runs over six innings in that outing was one of his better starts of the season. Morgan has an ERA approaching 7.00, and has not put back-to-back Quality Starts together all season. The pitching has certainly slowed and the offense has not picked up to help the cause.
The Phillies have to consider themselves fortunate that they managed to take a single game off the Cubs. They finished their long homestand with a 3-7 mark that only left the team further off the pace in both the division and Wildcard races as they now struggle to keep from totally collapsing.
The lone bright spot of late for the Phillies has been rookie 1st baseman Tommy Joseph, who took over for ‘The Big Piece’ in a highly publicized passing of the torch. T
The Phillies will close out another series with the Nationals today at 4:05pm after dropping the first two games of the series. This will be followed by a home-and-home matchup against the Blue Jays, which may serve as a final chance to show they can contend heading into the summer.