June 19, 2019
Things aren't all that sunny right now in Philly — and I'm not talking about the weather. No, we're talking about the state of the Philadelphia Phillies, who have lost 10 of their last 16 games and are just 6-8 in June.
Worse yet, the Phils, who went just 1-3 over the last week due to a pair of rainouts and an off day, have seen their division lead over the Braves (43-31) quickly evaporate and now sit 2.5 games back of the NL East lead heading into Wednesday's doubleheader in Washington. By the end of the day, the Phillies (39-32) could find themselves four full games back of Atlanta (they host the Mets on Wednesday night).
It's hard to put your finger on precisely what's ailing the Phillies, although ailing might be a good word for it as the team has been decimated by injuries this season, whether it's losing their leadoff hitter, Andrew McCutchen, to a torn ACL or any of seemingly endless list of injuries sustained by their bullpen. They've struggled at the plate at times, and can't seem to figure out the rotation, with new pieces being shuffled in and out on a regular basis.
It's gotten so bad, in fact, that they don't really have anyone to pitch Friday or Saturday when they return home against Miami. Luckily, it's only the Marlins.
That being said, the Phillies are just 2.5 games out of first and there are still more than three months remaining in the season. It's more about expectations (they were sky high coming into the season) vs. reality (the Phillies might just be an average team this year). You'll see this below in the power rankings, but I wanted to highlight this one assessment of the club from Yahoo! Sports' Mike Oz, because it sums things up pretty perfectly...
For all the offseason hubbub, the Phillies are … fine. They’re not great. They’re not bad. They’re in playoff contention, but they’re not blowing anybody away. This about sums it up: Their ERA is 15th best in MLB and they’re 16th in runs scored. They’re … fine.
If you're looking for a silver lining here, it's this: the Phillies have several players, both in the lineup and in the rotation, who have yet to play up to their potential. And all those injuries that have Gabe Kapler scratching his head when its time to fill out the lineup card, including recent (but less serious) ones like those suffered over the weekend by J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce — well, they're not always going to be there. Whether it's Tommy Hunter, Adam Morgan or David Robertson, there is some help supposedly on the way.
But that's not going to help the team win games now, which they need to do if they don't want to fall too far behind the Braves. And not only are the Phillies behind the Braves in the actual standings, but for the first time all season, they're lower than Atlanta in every single power ranking out there. That will happen after dropping two of three to your division rivals, including a 15-1 drubbing in the series finale.
After hanging tough for the last few weeks, the Phillies are beginning to seriously tumble down the rankings, dropping multiple spots in four of the eight including below. And in one, they've fallen a whopping five spots, the biggest of the week. Let's take a look at the rest of the power rankings...
|WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...|
|7 (--)||You can't say enough about the value Scott Kingery is bringing this season, especially with the center field issue that popped up.|
|9 (--)||Philadelphia's bullpen is riddled with injuries and could use an addition or two from the trade market. The same can be said for the starting rotation, with Aaron Nola failing to meet the lofty expectations he set forth last year and Jake Arrieta cratering in recent weeks. But don't blame Scott Kingery, who has emerged as a post-hype fantasy stud as a sophomore with a brilliant .344/.385/.664 slash line through 39 games played. He'll be playing a lot more games moving forward.|
|8 (-1)||Looking up in the NL East for the first time since April.|
|7 (-3)||The Phillies have rotation issues and veteran Jake Arrieta, in his second season with the club, is not helping much. Arrieta is scheduled to start twice this week, and beat the Diamondbacks last Tuesday but allowed three runs and four walks over six innings. His ERA and WHIP rose to 4.31 and 1.45, even worse than last season, and his strikeout rate continues to be one of the lesser ones among starters. The Phillies need help, but they need a better Arrieta too.|
|8 (-2)||For all the offseason hubbub, the Phillies are … fine. They’re not great. They’re not bad. They’re in playoff contention, but they’re not blowing anybody away. This about sums it up: Their ERA is 15th best in MLB and they’re 16th in runs scored. They’re … fine.|
|7 (-5)||It was also a tough week for the Philadelphia Phillies (2-4), who suffered series losses to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Braves. Since entering the month of June with a three-game lead in the NL East, the Phillies have limped along to a 6-8 record with a minus-24 run differential this month to slip to 2.5 games back.|
[NOTE: Some of these rankings may have come out a day or two ago, and may not be taking the most recent game(s) into account.]