Since the Phillies lost Andrew McCutchen to a torn ACL, they have lost their way and find themselves crashing and burning.
It wasn’t expected coming into the year, Andrew McCutchen turned out to be the Phillies offseason acquisition with arguably the most significant impact on the team this year. That’s why his season-ending knee injury stung so much when it happened, and the team still looks lost without him.
Since McCutchen sustained his injury June 3, the team has gotten zero production from the leadoff spot. Philadelphia’s leadoff hitters since McCutchen went down rank last in the league in wRC+ (31), OPS (.477), and batting average (.154) and second-to-last in runs scored (five).
Without McCutchen to bat leadoff, the team has turned to several different options to replace him. Cesar Hernandez and Jean Segura couldn’t cut it, leading to Bryce Harper winding up in the leadoff spot for the weekend series against the Marlins. He performed well in Saturday’s and Sunday’s games, but he shouldn’t be the answer.
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The Phillies have been crashing and burning without McCutchen. They are 6-12 since losing him, including a brutal sweep at the hands of the last-place Marlins. The team has now lost seven straight, and one more loss could put them at .500 after sitting 11 games over .500 less than a month ago.
Even worse, there is no sign of things turning around soon. Manager Gabe Kapler has tried plenty to jump-start the team: his first-ever ejection Saturday and shuffling the lineup have gone for naught as the team falls further in the standings. All that has amounted to is the second-worst record in baseball over the team’s last 20 games.
Throughout the losing streak, there has been little accountability for players or coaches. If this streak continues, it won’t be long before heads start to roll. Kapler defended hitting coach John Mallee and pitching coach Chris Young, but one of them could be the scapegoat if the team continues to trend downward.
An atrocious month of June has drastically changed the tone surrounding the Phillies, and McCutchen’s injury is what started it all.