The Philadelphia Phillies went just 1-5 last week against the tough Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.
It was another week to forget for the Phillies, who have cooled down considerably over the last month after an unexpectedly hot start to the year.
The Phillies have gone 2-6 since my last weekly review, including being swept by the NL East leading Nationals and crushed by the Blue Jays 11-3 earlier today.
Tougher competition has exposed the Phillies flaws in recent weeks. As a result of their not being able to compete with those top teams, the Phils are now five games under .500 on the year.
Let’s take a look at who was hot and who was not during this abysmal week of Fightins’ baseball.
Most of the hitters in the Phillies’ lineup were ice-cold at the plate this week. However, Peter Bourjos, who was one of our struggling hitters last week, had a nice few days at the plate.
Bourjos finished the week hitting .350 with a double and two RBIs. He has always played excellent defense, but has struggled mightily offensively the last few seasons, so it was nice to see him have a strong few games at the plate.
Cody Asche improved at the plate this week, hitting .278 with a homer and two RBI. Maikel Franco also batted .278 with a homer and two RBI. Franco has not looked as good at the plate as he did last season, but he has still been hitting for power.
Franco has not played the last few days because of a mild right knee sprain, but hopefully some rest will help the young slugger get back on track offensively.
Tommy Joseph had a strong first week of games after Pete Mackanin sat Ryan Howard to get a good look at his 1st base prospect. This week was a different story, as Joseph batted just .188, though he did manage to slug two more home runs.
Speaking of Howard, the veteran slugger had another poor week at the plate. Seeing action in three games, Howard managed two homers, but batted just .200 on the week.
After a scorching hot week last week, catcher Cameron Rupp cooled off significantly, hitting just .091 with a double.
Jerad Eickhoff had two strong starts this week against top-level competition, finishing with an ERA of 0.69 with 13 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched. Eickhoff was especially impressive in the Phils 7-0 win over the slugging Blue Jays yesterday.
Adam Morgan had a decent week, posting a 4.05 ERA with eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched. While the numbers are not flashy, they are a big improvement compared to his last few starts, and very good for a back of the rotation starter. Here’s hoping this quality start was the beginning of a turn around for Morgan.
Vincent Velasquez was placed on the disabled list with right bicep strain this week, and Zach Eflin was called up to replace him on the roster. Eflin struggled mightily this afternoon in his big league debut, giving up eight earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched for an ERA of 27.00. Eflin left the ball up, and the Blue Jays seized on every mistake. Hopefully Eflin can bounce back and show competitiveness in his second start.
After an impressive showing last week, Aaron Nola struggled in his start against the Nationals. Nola gave up four runs in just 3.2 innings pitched.
Nola’s usual pinpoint command appeared to be off as he struggled to find the strike zone. Here’s hoping it was just an off day for the young pitcher who has had great big league success because of his ability to locate pitches consistently.
Jeremy Hellickson also struggled this week, allowing seven earned runs over six innings pitched.
Aside from Oberholtzer and Hernandez, the Phillies bullpen had a terrible week. Jeanmar Gomez had an ERA of 6.75, Andrew Bailey posted an 8.31 ERA, Elvis Araujo posted an ERA of 10.80, and Colton Murray a 18.00 ERA mark.
The Phils early success over the first six weeks of this season was built on the strength of their pitchers, both out of the pen and in the starting rotation.
Now with that pitching struggling and the offense still posting weak numbers, the Fightins have been on a downward spiral and currently sit at 30-35 on the season.
While it’s hard to watch the Phillies slide lower and lower in the standings, there was one silver lining for the future of the team this week. On Thursday the Phillies selected Mickey Moniak with the #1 overall pick in the MLB Amateur Draft.
I wrote a piece on Moniak last week just prior to that selection, and the youngster has the potential to develop into a very special player over the next few years.
While things may look bleak now, there appears to be much to look forward to in the near future for the Phillies, as players like J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, and Jake Thompson get closer to The Show.