Monday's most recent debacle marked the #Phillies' seventh blown save in their last six games. In fact, the Fightin's have now incurred 21 blown saves on the year, and we haven't yet reached the all-star break. To put things into perspective on just how inept this statistic is, the franchise season record for the metric is 25. Consequently, the 2021 version of the pen is on pace to best last season's historically inept version for one of the worst all-time in major league baseball history.
As the blistering heat of summer fast approaches, the Phillies train has completely jumped off the tracks. The bullpen is just a microcosm of a much bigger elephant in the room. So what is it that really ails the Phillies, you might ask? Well, I am here to tell you that the problem is not really what you think.
Yes, the team has been totally pathetic and inconsistent at the dish. True, the defense makes the bad news bears look like gold glove winners daily. Yes, Joe Girardi has indeed been God-awful, even to the point that fans are clamoring for Gabe Kapler's return. It doesn't take a genius to observe that the team is filled with underachievers. And we have even had former players like Cole Irvin and Nick Pivetta criticize the team's character as they paint their mona Lisa of a losing culture.
And to add insult to this team's ineptitude, Spencer Howard, the "Golden Child" apple of the team's eye prospect, has been sent back to the minors. Just another douse of salt to an already gaping wound. Yes, among all the dysfunction and depravity at the major league level, none of that rivals the morbidity of the Phillies farm system: A jayvee squad playing amongst a varsity league. So yes, all of these factors point to an overall abomination for this city's baseball team.
However, as the saying goes, it all starts at the top. Yes, that's right, Phillie's major malfunction happens to be the man pulling strings. John Middleton is the one true culprit here. Bad bullpen's are just a symptom. Terrible defense is just a feature. Poor management is just an indication. A failed farm system is the manifestation. While most angry fans point to all of these other excuses, the fact remains that the overwhelming reason for this team's ineptitude lies in John Middleton's bed.
It was John Middleton that hired ivy league computer nerd Matt Klentak. It was also John that brought in over the hill; what have you done lately, MacFailure. Middleton is responsible for allowing these two jackasses to totally ruin any semblance of a development league that we did have. And yes, he waited three years too long to pull the trigger while it was already too late before it had even started.
And then there is the unwillingness to pay into the luxury tax. In 2019, Middleton went star hunting when he signed Bryce Harper to a 330 million dollar contract. At that moment, the owner proclaimed that they were not rebuilding and ready to contend. Either he was blowing smoke or just too naive to realize just how many light-years away from this team actually was from vying for the playoffs.