Do you remember a couple of months ago when Phillies fans all thought the pain and suffering was over? We had the reigning MVP, best catcher in baseball, and then we added Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos in the off-season.
Heading into this season, we thought this was going to be the team that ended one of the longest active playoff droughts in Major League Baseball. However, we are 11-15 and a giant disappointment.
So what is not going as planned?
Well lets start with the offense. This was supposed to be a lineup that had multiple 20+ home run hitters and potentially multiple 40 home run hitters. Schwarber is currently hitting .195. He may have 7 home runs, but unless he hits it out, he is not hitting the ball. He is also for some reason batting lead off (we will discuss this later.) Bryce Harper is having trouble recreating his 2021 success. He played similar to this last season, so there is potential for that to improve. Rhys Hoskins is also batting below .200 this season. He has struggled for a long time, and there seems to be no potential he will ever recreate the success he had when he first entered the league.
This offense ranks top 10 offensively in all of the MLB. However, that spark that we thought this offense was going to have is not there. Even though they are in the top 1/3, it does not seem like they are. That 10+ runs a night we expected is just missing.
On top of all of this Didi has been hurt and has been missing from the lineup as well as Mickey Moniak who has yet to play in 2022. Then we saw Castellanos leave the game in the 6th inning after he was hit in the hand by a pitch.
Our bullpen sucks
The Phillies 2021 bullpen was the worst bullpen in baseball history. The 2022 bullpen I think is trying to be worse. Just tonight, the bullpen gave up 7 runs in the 9th inning. SEVEN RUNS?!?! How is that possible? The lowest ERA in our bullpen is Samuel Coonrod with a 3.94 ERA. That is horrendous. Our best relief pitcher will give up at least 3 runs per outing. The Phillies need to figure this out. We are losing games because of this. We were up 7-1 heading into the 9th.
We have a 7-1 lead. Our bullpen had to try to blow the lead tonight...well they succeeded.
Joe being Joe
Our lineup has zero consistency. We may have the same 9 guys playing, but I do not believe we have seen the same lineup all season. Tonight Kyle Schwarber was our lead off hitter. Schwarber is 5th in the MLB with 7 home runs, but he is batting .193 on the season. Our lead off guy needs to get on base. Schwarber is not getting on base. If he is not hitting a home run, he is getting out, and it is clear by his season average. I have seen almost every player at some point be the lead off hitter.
On top of his inconsistent lineups, his calls to the bullpen have been atrocious. Yesterday Girardi in the 8th inning with 2 outs and no runners on, pulled Zach Wheeler at 76 pitches. His previous two starts were both under 90 pitches. We ended up losing that game 2-1 in 10 innings. Tonight Aaron Nola was pulled after 7 innings. When he went to the bullpen, he brings in guys that have ERA's that can't be counted on two hands. What was he thinking? I do not think Joe makes it through May, because this horrible managing is just inexcusable at this point.
'We played a really great 8 inning and the top of the 9th they beat us." Baseball is 9 innings, and we have a manager who does not understand that. Instead of focusing on our strengths, he tries and get guys who need help the pitches during a giant lead. However, when they struggle and he brings the better guys in, the damage has already been done.
Do you know where you get guys reps who are struggling? AAA. Not with a 7-1 lead, and when that clearly does not work out, you are setting Corey Knebel up for major failure.
Fielding or bullpen... I see no difference
The Phillies offense is top 1/3 in the MLB, but their defense is currently 20th in the MLB. They currently have a fielding percentage of .984 which is 20th in the MLB. Currently sitting with 9th most errors with 15. Defense wins championships, and the Phillies defense is not winning any championships anytime soon.
This play is from a different game, but thats besides the point. We need to clean this up. These are the basics they teach you in little league. We can not continue to beat ourselves in situations like this.
Dave Dombrowski: When does your magic begin to work?
Dombrowski has won 2 World Series titles with the Marlins and Red Sox, and won the pennant with the Tigers. Every stop he has been at, has had success. When is that going to start with the Phillies? If change is coming, Dave needs to make a change with the manager. He also needs to start investing in the bullpen. If we had a semi decent bullpen, I think we would have at least a winning record. Dombrowski is a top 5 executive in baseball, and he needs to step up so this team can live up to his potential.
Can this team be saved or look ahead to 2023?
I am going to be optimistic. I think this team can still make a run to the playoffs. However things need to change. The biggest thing is we need to invest in a bullpen. If we do not invest in the bullpen, we can't even look ahead to 2023, because this team will go no where. We are missing an ace in our pitching rotation, so we have to rely on our bullpen. When the only thing we can rely on our bullpen for is giving up runs, we are in trouble.
I love our offense. We are in a slump. Remember Harper started 2021 similar to how he is starting 2022. History will repeat its self. Once the Phillies learn a solid lineup and everyone gets comfortable, the bats will come to life. We are a borderline top 10 offense team, but that spark is coming.
The Phillies infield coach Bobby Dickerson needs to go. Our defense is horrible. One of the worst in Major League Baseball. At this point we need a new voice for our infield.
These things need to change if we want to be competitive in 2022. I am curious on what the development of Alec Bohm will look like. I am hoping with him being the every day 3rd baseman, if he will continue to improve. Yes he has struggled, but he is still very young. I think with him getting the nod everyday, getting consistent at bats, we will see him continue to grow. Scott Kingery got screwed because he played 10 positions and never had consistency. Bohm is getting the consistency.
I said I am going to be optimistic. If things continue the way they are going, major change needs to happen. We have a 5-6 guys who are all elite and in their prime. We can not waste this opportunity. If we do not improve, I expect change.