With the Atlanta Braves winning their first World Series since 1995 on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Phillies should be feeling the heat big-time.
After all, the Phillies were in first place in late July, when the Braves began surging back. Their eight-game win streak ended two days after the Braves finally became an above-.500 team on August 6.
1. The Phillies need more than Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper’s incredible season made the Phillies relevant in September. From an offensive standpoint, he carried them closer to the finish line than they had been in a long time.
But Harper is not enough. This isn’t basketball, where a superstar can carry a team a la Jordan, LeBron, or Wilt Chamberlain with his 100-point game. If baseball was like that, the Phillies would be champs with Harper, and Mike Trout would have led the Angels to at least two World Series titles already. But alas.
When an ACL tear ended Ronald Acuña Jr.’s season, it wasn’t the end of the Braves’ season. If Harper had gotten hurt, the Phillies’ season would have been over.
But at the deadline, the Braves went out and got Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall, and Eddie Rosario. They bolstered the bullpen with Pirates reliever Richard Rodriguez, who I’d wanted the Phillies to go for in July.
What the Phillies need is depth. They need it from starters like Aaron Nola, who struggled to pitch deep into games, in the form of bench players who can come up clutch, and from their front office, who must provide said depth.