The Philadelphia Phillies enter the all-star break with a record of 48-41. Definitely not bad, but they're 12 games out of the NL East race and are on the outside looking in when it comes to the Wild Card race.
The Phillies found themselves paying catch-up once again as they failed to get off to a strong start. It's the same thing every year. This season, following a World Series appearance, was a bit more frustrating to watch, especially when some of the reasons why they started off so slowly were avoidable.
Here're some offseason mistakes that Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies made and are paying for right now.
1) The Phillies are paying for not adding another starting pitcher
This is the most obvious one. The Phillies needed to sign another starting pitcher to fortify the rotation. The Ranger Suarez injury was impossible to plan for, but the plan was for Bailey Falter to be the fifth starter. That wound up being an absolute disaster.
Falter made eight appearances (seven starts) and the Phillies lost seven of them. He pitched beyond five innings just three times while failing to reach five innings four times. He had a 5.13 ERA in his eight appearances, and it should've been worse as he allowed six unearned runs in his final appearance with the Phillies this season.
Had the Phillies gone 4-4 instead of 1-7 in those appearances, they'd be in a playoff spot right now. Signing Taijuan Walker was a good move, but they needed another arm to round out the rotation.
For the most part, Falter looked completely uncompetitive. He had a decent year in 2022, but committing to him as the fifth starter right out of the gate was a bad decision. Andrew Painter was always the underdog in their battle for that fifth spot. I would've been fine with Falter as the first man up from AAA in the case of injury, but not in the Opening Day rotation. Falter wasn't the one forced into the rotation when Suarez got hurt, Matt Strahm was.