Less than two months after riding high atop the National League East, the Phillies are nosediving into another losing season.
Remember when the Phillies were playing well? That was fun while it lasted. As you almost certainly know, the team has been crashing and burning the last two months, falling all the way from 2.5 games up in the National League East to 11 games back and third place in the division.
The season hit a new low Tuesday night as Philadelphia lost its sixth straight game, bringing their record to 78-79. You have to go all the way back to April 9 to find the last time this team was below .500. With the way this team is playing, it’s looking extremely likely that they finish below .500 for the sixth straight year.
When August started, there was nothing but excitement around the team. They were buyers at the trade deadline for the first time in years, hoping that the moves they made would help them push for a playoff spot.
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At the time, we had a lot of positive things to take away from the year. The entire starting rotation was cruising and looked to be the backbone of the team. After a rough start to the season, the bullpen had become reliable enough. The only big issue was the offense, and that was supposed to be fixed by the deadline moves. The team looked strong enough to woo some big-name free agents.
Things have taken a complete 180 since then.
Any aspect of the team you can think of, it has gotten worse. Since Aug. 5, they are 15-31. The team went from budding contender to below league-average. It’s hard to pin the blame on anyone when everyone is failing to perform.
Surveying the team, a silver lining is hard to come by. The lone true bright spot this year has been Aaron Nola, but even he has struggled this month. Players that were budding major-leaguers in the first half have completely fallen apart down the stretch. At this point of the season, most people just want it to be over.
Thinking about overall takeaways, we have way more questions than answers, when less than two months ago that was not the case. Was Scott Kingery‘s contract a good decision? Should Rhys Hoskins stay in left field? If he doesn’t, what happens to Carlos Santana? These questions aren’t limited to individual players either.
Does this offensive approach work? Will they ever learn how to play defense? Is this is an attractive free-agent destination?
This poor finish to the season is all that fans are going to remember, despite all the successes from the first half of the season. We now have a lot to ponder with the offseason approaching sooner than we originally thought it would.