Phillies offense flounders as Cubs sweep season series

Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber (Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber (Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports) /

The Phillies offense has struggled in September, and was particularly worrisome in Chicago.

As a team who is in the hunt to make the postseason for the first time in 11 years, the Philadelphia Phillies offense has shown a lack of urgency to get runs across on the board. The club squandered an opportunity to gain more ground on the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Wild Card race, as it was swept by the eliminated Chicago Cubs in a three-game road series at Wrigley Field. Overall, the Cubs won all six of their games against the Phillies this season.

The Phillies wasted a perfectly good outing from ace Zack Wheeler on Tuesday night. The right-hander posted six innings of one-run baseball and struck out five Cubs batters. The Phillies offense, however, was only able to muster up one run, as they grounded into three double plays. The lone run came on a Bryce Harper RBI double that knocked in Bryson Stott. The Cubs ended up scoring another run off of struggling reliever Connor Brogdon that would prove to be enough to beat the Phillies in the series opener.

On Wednesday night, the Phillies turned to right-hander Aaron Nola — who had been solid in September up until struggling in the fifth inning in the eventual loss to the Cubs. While Nola gave up four earned runs in his six innings pitched, the 4-2 loss can also be pinned on an offense that has sputtered badly in recent weeks. Phillies hitters went just 2-16 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base in the contest. Nick Castellanos reached base three times and Rhys Hoskins reached base four times — but neither reached the plate.

On Thursday, the Phillies were unable to score a run altogether. Ranger Suarez pitched well enough to keep the team in the game — giving up two runs in six innings pitched. The offense went 0-4 with runners in scoring position — a theme that doomed the club in the series.

The Phillies seem to be able to get hits, but are far from productive with runners on base. They will now turn their attention to the Washington Nationals, as they begin the four-game series with a doubleheader on Friday. The series will be pivotal in determining whether the club can secure a Wild Card berth — or if they miss the postseason, once again, due to a September collapse.

With the Milwaukee Brewers losing 4-2 to the Miami Marlins on Thursday, the Phillies maintained a two-game lead over them in the loss column for the third and final National League Wild Card spot. The Phils need to right the ship quickly, as all six of the Brewers’ remaining games are against teams with a losing record.

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