Phillies: Reasons behind potentially historically bad season

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 6: Manager Pete Mackanin #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks to the dugout after making a pitching change in the ninth inning during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on July 6, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates won 6-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 6: Manager Pete Mackanin #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks to the dugout after making a pitching change in the ninth inning during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on July 6, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates won 6-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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The Philadelphia Phillies have a record of 28-55 and are on pace for their worst record since 1961. Here are some of the reasons for this regression.

After a 63-99 record in 2015 and improvement to 71-91 last season, the Philadelphia Phillies appeared to be heading in right direction with a .500 record not out of question this season. Amazing how hope has turned into fantasy in only a few months. The team sits at 28-55 and is on pace for their worst season since 1961. So what went wrong?

First, the majority of signings in the off season that looked decent of paper have not panned out. Michael Saunders looked to provide veteran leadership and 20 to 25 home run power in the outfield. He was released in late June after hitting just six home runs with a .200 batting average.

Clay Buchholz, while not an excellent pitcher in his career, had some solid seasons and came in with a career record of 81-61 and an ERA under four. He made only two starts, compiled an ERA of 12.27 before going down to injury and his career in Philadelphia is most likely over.

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Howie Kendrick is batting .349, but has only appeared in 33 games and will likely be traded. Pat Neshek has had the most success, pitching to a stingy 1.39 ERA that was at a microscopic 0.59 before his last outing. Neshek, though, has little value on a team that has only won 28 games, so he will also likely be moved.

Another reason for the debacle is the lack or progression and really regression of Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco.

Heading into this year, the team was undoubtedly looking to build around them. Herrera is batting only .257 with five home runs, 81 strikeouts and a poor .294 on-base percentage. On top of that, he has numerous times made very poor base running blunders.

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Franco has supplied more power, hitting 12 home runs, but like Herrera, is totally lacking discipline at the plate, as his  .218 batting average and .277 on-base percentage indicate.

Overall team batting and terrible pitching have also hindered the club. With Cesar Hernandez on the disabled list, only three starters have a batting average above .250 and none are on pace to draw 50 walks. The team is averaging nearly nine strikeouts per game while scoring under four runs per game.

On the mound, 21 different pitchers (excluding Andres Blanco in one mop up appearance) have taken the mound and only seven have an ERA under four, while an astonishing 11 have an ERA over five.

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So what is there to look forward to in the second half? Fans should watch the development of outfielders Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams, as well as starting pitcher Aaron Nola, who has come into his own lately.  To avoid a 100 loss season, the Phillies need to go 35-44, which is a 72 win pace, nearly identical to last season’s record. At this point, that would be a major accomplishment for a team on a historically bad pace.

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