The Phillies lost a couple of games in Texas this week, marking the team’s first league loss since the expulsion of Joe Girardi and their first streak of three straight losses since last month.
Recovering will be quite a chore, and here’s why:
• Bryce Harper is a kind of robot who can still hit the ball no matter what parts of him are broken. He has the elbow injury that keeps him relegated to the DH point, but he also has some kind of infected ugly bladder, one that has kept him out of the opening of the series against Rangers. He still managed to take a walk and a base shot in Wednesday’s 4-2 defeat, raising his batting average of the season to .326, the team’s best score.
• In what is certainly a small champion of the series that ended Wednesday, the Phillies scored .169, scored just two points and were beaten 11-2. In many of their losing endeavors earlier this season, attack was at least a factor. They weren’t in this series. Their seasonal average is .247.
• The only real offensive bright spot in the series against Rangers was Kyle Schwarber, who ridiculously made it to base in every June game, and has a streak of winning streak dating back to 25 May. Since that date his batting average has improved by 17 points and his base percentage 31 points. Remember what Jonah Hill taught us in Moneyball: a walk is as good as a success. He also has the second highest number of homers in the NL.
• Three games in a row in the losing column certainly qualify as a crisis. Zack Wheeler wasn’t terrible but failed to make it through the fifth inning on Wednesday, a day after Kyle Gibson came in in seventh and was relieved by Jeurys Familia who gave up four points. Both hurlers kept the Phillies in winning games, but the offense was nowhere to be found.
• The program was easy during their recent successful run. So far in June, Philadelphia has gone 15-5, shooting nine straight wins and four straight wins. Their victories have been over four teams with losing records, as well as an impressive sweep of the Brewers fighting wild card.
In the next three series, the Phillies will face the Padres four times in the west (44-27), followed by the Braves (40-30) and the Cardinals (40-31) at home. If the season ended today, all three would be in the postseason. The Philadelphia do not.
Philly was able to bounce back and make a push for relevance after the manager’s jolt largely due to a soft schedule. It will be harder to rebound this time around, and seeing if they can step away from the next 10 daunting games with a winning record will be very significant as we continue to weigh whether the Phillies can truly end their decade-long playoff drought.
• Ranger Suarez and Aaron Nola are expected to start their first two games of the Padres series, but a knee injury to Zach Eflin puts his start in Game 3 at risk. The Phillies will face Joe Musgrove (8-0, 1.59 ERA), MacKenzie Gore (4-3, 3.64 ERA) and Yu Darvish (7-3, 3.17 ERA) in three of the four games to come in the series. Good luck.
Follow Evan on Twitter: @evan_macy
Like on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sport