July 03, 2019
After a rough month of June that saw them go just 11-16 — and saw their World Series odds drop from 12/1 to 22/1, according to BetOnline.ag — the Phillies are looking to turn things around in July.
They got off to a good start on Tuesday night, taking the series opener from the Braves, 2-0, behind a gem from Aaron Nola. The win moves the Phillies (45-40) to 4.5 games behind Atlanta in the NL East as we inch closer and closer to the July 31 trade deadline. And if the Phillies, who are currently clinging to one of the NL wild card spots, hope to make the playoffs, they're going to need more nights like Tuesday.
Here's a look at the current NL East and wild card standings heading into play on Wednesday:
Over at ESPN, David Schoenfield broke the all of MLB down into a few tiers based on how likely they are to make the postseason, and the Phillies fit in the category of "Definitely Still In It." Unfortunately, according to FanGraphs, the Phillies have a less than 25% chance of making it to the postseason, while the first-place Braves are at 94.1% and the Nationals, who are a game and a half behind the Phillies, actually have a 66.8% chance of playing beyond the regular season.
You may be wondering why the Nationals, who have a worse record than the Phillies, have a nearly 42% better chance of making the postseason, and that would be a fair question to ask. According to FanGraphs, it's because the Nats have the second-highest projected winning percentage for the remainder of the season (.555), behind only the NL-leading Dodgers.
So what about the Phillies? Here's a look at what Schoenfield had to say about them:
Philadelphia Phillies (24.9%): Other than a four-game sweep against the Mets last week, it has been a tough three weeks for the Phillies. They've given up five or more runs in 13 of their past 20 games. Don't put all the blame on the pitching, however, as the Phillies are eighth in the NL in runs and 11th in home runs despite their hitter-friendly home park. Offseason additions Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura have been OK, but not as OK as expected. As they go in the second half, so might the Phillies' season. [espn.com]
Needless to say, the Phillies are hoping to get some better results out of those three big-name offseason acquisitions, and they'll need them if they hope stay in the playoff race as the season continues.
Now that we've checked in on the actual standings, it's time to take a look at the made-up ones.
Gabe Kapler's team went 4-2 over the last week, and will need more of that heading into the All-Star break next week, but the winning week wasn't enough to move the needle in any big way when it comes to MLB power rankings, with the club only moving a spot one way or the other (if at all).
Let's see where they stand...
|WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...|
|N/A||The hope was that Bryce Harper would be the piece to help launch the Phillies over the top and into the realm of elite NL teams. Instead, Harper isn’t having a great year, hitting just .250 with an OPS of .839, and the Phillies offense is — recent sweep of the Mets notwithstanding — looking shaky. I mean, losing five out of six to the Marlins? ...|
|14 (--)||Bryce Harper isn't an All-Star for the first time since 2014.|
|15 (--)||It looked like they halted that potentially devastating losing streak by sweeping the Mets in four games, but then they lost a series to the Marlins. There's an opportunity with this upcoming three-game road trip to Atlanta, but it could be rough, too.|
|16 (+1)||The return to relevance of third baseman Maikel Franco makes a huge difference to a struggling lineup. Franco hit .170 with one home run in May but homered three times in this week's four-game sweep of the Mets. With the team's center-field depth depleted, emerging Scott Kingery seems a better fit there, but only if Franco, with his career at a crossroad, keeps producing at the hot corner.|
[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.]