September 28, 2016
A year ago, Adam Morgan, a native Georgian, saw his first big league season come to an end in mid-September.
The left-hander probably could have made another start or two, but he was very encouraged. He had come all the way back from shoulder surgery and had showed promise in a major league rotation.
A year later, on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Braves, Morgan was back at Turner Field to make his last start of the 2016 season. It was an opportunity to put a strong foot forward as he moved into the offseason, following an uneven second season in the major leagues.
Despite a strong showing, Morgan lost the fifth starter’s job in the final week of spring training. When the opportunity arose with the Phillies a month later, Morgan had mixed results but broke bad in mid-May and was sent back to Triple-A in July.
But a second chance arrived for Morgan in mid-August, and he entered Wednesday with a 2.89 ERA and .259 opponents OBP in his previous five starts. He had held the opponent to two earned runs or fewer in six of his eight starts since returning from Triple-A Lehigh Valley (and allowed just three in another).
At the very least, Morgan put himself at least close to where he was this spring: in contention for a starting pitching job for 2017. But he didn’t leave a great final impression heading into the winter.
Morgan was tagged for nine runs on 10 hits in five innings as the Braves routed the Phillies 12-2. Atlanta scored five runs off Morgan in the game’s first three innings.
The nine earned runs were a career-high for Morgan, who finished the season with a 6.04 ERA. Among the 141 major league pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings this season, only two have a higher ERA than Morgan: Arizona’s Shelby Miller (6.15) and Minnesota’s Tyler Duffey (6.18).
The Phillies offense also wasn’t a whole lot better than Morgan on Wednesday. They had four hits: a double from Odubel Herrera and singles from Aaron Altherr, Maikel Franco, and Cameron Rupp. The latter came with two outs in the ninth.
The Phillies have lost five of their last six games. They’ve been outscored 55-21 in those five losses.
• Adam Morgan wasn’t the only Phillies pitcher hit hard on Wednesday. Two of the three relievers that followed, Phil Klein and Jeanmar Gomez allowed runs, too.
Since the last two innings of Saturday night’s game at Citi Field (a win over the Mets), 13 of the last 14 relievers who have entered for the Phillies have allowed at least one run. At least Frank Herrmann (retired two of the three batters he faced) didn’t allow a run on Wednesday?
The Phillies bullpen has a ghastly 8.07 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in September. Woof city.
"At some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job," manager Pete Mackanin told reporters on Tuesday. "Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up."
• Freddie Freeman might be having the best season no one is talking about in 2016. Freeman went 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored, upping his hitting streak to 30 straight games.
Freeman has hit 33 home runs this season and ranks in the top 10 in all of baseball in OPS (.982, 4th), slugging percentage (.576, 3rd), extra-base hits (82, 2nd), total bases (331, 8th), and WAR (6.5, 10th). Freeman is hitting .385 with a .474 OBP and a .738 slugging percentage against the Phillies this season.
He has hit more home runs this year against the Phillies (six) than any other team.
• The Phillies horrid, final road trip of the season apparently is not sitting well with the players playing in these horrid games.
Phillies had players only meeting after 12-2 loss— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) September 29, 2016