The Philadelphia Phillies lost their fourth straight game on Wednesday to the Miami Marlins by a score of 10-2, bringing their record to 17-34. The Phillies now own the worst record in baseball thanks to an abysmal 6-22 month of May. Every team usually goes through a bad stretch of baseball during the season, but this seems to be a lingering problem that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Neither the offense nor defense has played well during this stretch with a shocking minus 69-run differential during this stretch. There may have been low expectations from fans coming into this season, but the worst team in the majors two months into the season is something no one could have predicted.
During the Phillies’ three games against the Marlins, they were outscored 21-5 and never looked like they were in any game during the series. The Phillies have now lost 10 straight series dating back to the end of April, and have not lost 11 in a row since 1997. With a day off on Thursday, the Phillies must reevaluate themselves as a whole and put together one good game to get themselves out of this major slump they have been in. Just a few wins to start the month of June could get the sour taste of losing out of their locker room.
Phillies’ manager Pete Mackanin knows his team isn’t playing anywhere close to their best baseball and has been pretty vocal on his team’s play as a whole. Mackanin has spoken about ways to get former teams out of a rut, but was speechless when it came to this year’s Phillies team. Seeing his players put out lousy performances day after day put him over the top and he finally started to call his players out. Mitchell Gladstone of CSN Philly wrote about the Phillies’ recent struggles and quoted Mackanin on his team’s effort following Tuesday’s loss to the Marlins.
“I believe we’re a better team than we’re showing and the bottom line is the players have to start performing better. They have to do their jobs better — there’s no way to sugarcoat it. We own our record and right now, we’re that team with the worst record in baseball.”
The Phillies’ young starting pitcher, Aaron Nola, lasted just three innings in Wednesday’s loss, allowing four earned runs off five hits. Nola is now 2-3 with an ERA of 5.06 in six starts this season. The bullpen has also not been much help in this series including a rough debut for a recent call-up from the Phillies’ Minor League affiliate. Ricardo Pinto gave up six hits and four runs in just two innings of work in Wednesday’s loss.
The blame cannot be placed solely on the pitching staff because the Phillies’ batters have been just as bad, if not worse. The Phillies struck out 15 times during the loss, but were able to accumulate nine hits. Nine hits seem like an onslaught compared to their recent games of mostly four hits or less. Without the consistency of Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera, the Phillies have not been able to maintain production throughout their lineup.
The Phillies just finished May at 6-22, with a minus-69 run differential. Their worst May since 1928. Yikes!— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) May 31, 2017
Herrera signed a five-year extension with the Phillies this past offseason with $30 million guaranteed, but has not been able to match his production from last season. Matt Breen of Philly wrote about Herrera’s recent struggles and quoted him on what he needs to do to get back to being a productive player in the Phillies’ lineup.
“I think I need to focus more. That’s what I need to do,” Herrera said. “Not the work. I’ve been putting the work in. I’ve been working really hard. But I need to find that approach that I had last year, be more disciplined and more selective. That’s what I need to go back to.”
The Phillies are off on Thursday which should allow them to breathe before they take on the month of June. The sport of baseball can be grueling in the dog days of summer, so it will be interesting to see if the Phillies can pull themselves out of this slump during a fresh slate in June.
[Featured Image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]