August 27, 2019
Last week was another strange one for the Phillies, who, like the week before, swept a team with a winning record only to follow that up by dropping a weekend series to a losing team.
And after pulling that move two weeks ago with the Cubs and Padres, respectively, this latest manifestation of "playing to your competition" was even worse, with the Phillies sweeping the Red Sox at Fenway only to drop two out of three to the lowly Marlins, both of which the Phillies led by multiple runs, including the series opener, in which they jumped out to a 7-0 lead only to lose 19-11.
On Monday, the Phillies bounced back with a walk-off win in their first of three games against the Pirates, but they even had to go and ruin that. And this time, they didn't wait until the following series, or even the following game. After the 11th-inning win over Pittsburgh, Sean Rodriguez, who has struggled mightily and been on the receiving end of much well-deserved criticism before hitting the walk-off home run, took his moment in the spotlight not to bask in the glow of his clutch hit, but to take a shot at the fans for, of all things, being "entitled."
Rodriguez admitted that he was aware that his spot on the roster had become an issue with fans and critics alike.
“Who’s looking bad and feeling entitled when you hear stuff like that?” he said. “I’m not the one booing. I’m not the one screaming. I’m not the one saying pretty disgusting things at times. That seems pretty entitled. You’re just making yourself look pretty bad as an individual, as a person, as a fan. That’s tough.
"There’s still a lot of good fans, though. Those are the ones I hear and pay attention to. The few that might be behind home plate and say, ‘Hey, Sean, keep doing your thing. Don’t worry about it. Things will come around.’“ [nbcsports.com]
And it seemed as those things had come around for Rodriguez on Monday night. But by Tuesday morning, he found himself again playing the role of Public Enemy No. 1 in Philadelphia as many fans latched on to the first part of that quote. In fact, it wasn't until I went back and watched the full video of Rodriguez's media availability that I even knew he said that that last part about the other side of the fan base. When you take that part into consideration, the quote isn't nearly as bad.
That being said, Rodriguez, who is hitting just .214 on the season and just .167 since mid-June, probably shouldn't be complaining about anything until he gets that average up a little bit.
Now, let's take a look at where the Phillies stack up in the national power rankings after going 3-2 last week (4-2 if you count Monday night’s win over the Pirates).
|WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...|
|13 (--)||The Red Sox, Phillies and Brewers continue to be underachievers. If any of these teams — particularly on the NL side – want to make good on their playoff aspirations, now’s the time to get moving.|
|14 (+1)||If the Phillies miss the playoffs by a few games, their current 7-9 record against the Marlins is going to be a big source of regret. |
|14 (--)||The Phillies continue to struggle to find productive leadoff hitters after Andrew McCutchen tore a knee ligament nearly three months ago. Speedy Scott Kingery had a .605 OPS in the role, but he has thrived later in the lineup. Cesar Hernandez has seen his walk rate plummet from recent seasons. Rhys Hoskins still draws myriad walks, and he could end up leading the league, but he has struggled to hit in any role since the All-Star break. Look for manager Gabe Kapler to continue experimenting.|
|15 (--)||Closer Hector Neris hasn't given up a run since July 18.|
[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.]