May 24, 2023
The Phillies didn't look particularly convincing in their series win against the Cubs last weekend, and their weaknesses showed against a much better Diamondbacks team — which beat them in two out of three games at home.
The series was somewhat salvaged when Alec Bohm walked off in the finale after the team overcame an early 5-9 deficit:
Alec Bohm walk it off!— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) May 24, 2023
Phils comeback from being down 5-0 🔥🔥
Phils salvage a game
Philadelphia is going to need to make a push above .500 at some point, but it doesn't really appear like it'll be happening anytime soon after failures on both sides of the ball doomed them against Arizona.
As we do after every series, here's a few awards before we turn the page to a big four-game set this weekend:
The Phillies did play badly — something we'll get into shortly — but they also sort of ran into a buzz saw with Arizona heading to Philadelphia fresh having won seven of their last nine games.
There seems to be a problem this season with good teams smoking the Phillies. After their surprise win Wednesday, they are now 9-17 against teams above .500, and 14-9 against teams with losing records. While it's certainly a good thing that they are (somewhat) beating up on bad teams they also need to hold their own against good ones. According to tankathon.com, the Phillies still have one of the tougher schedules in baseball. They also have the second toughest remaining of any NL East team.
Ranger Suarez got hurt in Spring Training and everyone knew he'd need at least a few weeks to get ready to pitch in the majors. A few weeks dragged into May, and the Phillies elected to have him pitch in the majors (on an innings limit) rather than getting him time to stretch out and work out some kinks in the minors.
Their thin and inconsistent starting pitching depth was the major catalyst for this — and with so few options aside from Suarez, it's hard to completely blame the Phillies front office. Still, it's painfully clear that Suarez isn't himself. In his most recent start in Sunday's finale, the lefty allowed five runs but did battle through five innings. An ugly four-run third inning was why he nearly took a second straight 'L.'
We wrote earlier this season about how the Phillies were not only one of the better pure hitting teams in baseball this season, but also had some of the best luck on balls put in play in the league. That luck and hitting prowess seems to be drying up. Or at least it did against the D-backs for whatever reason.
Despite having the fifth-best batting average in the NL (.257), the Phillies hit .169 against Arizona in the first two games of the series. In the finale, the offense did just enough to prevail late and keep from being swept, collecting 11 hits — most of them late in the game.
With two outs in the ninth against the Diamondbacks Wednesday, Trea Turner — after telling reporters he sucked — blasted a two out, two-run home run to tie it, his fifth as a Phillie. After hitting near .300 for his career Turner has struggled, by his standards, since crushing the ball in the World Baseball Classic.
Perhaps this is his way out of the slump:
Trea Turner tied the game with this home run. pic.twitter.com/JLPXSn66G3— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) May 24, 2023
Will things get easier for the Phillies this weekend? Probably not. Philly will face off against the Braves for the first time since the Phillies' remarkable NLDS win. Atlanta is leading the Phillies by 7.5 games in the division, in first place comfortably and looking like the Braves always seem to look. After the Braves, the Phillies will face the second place Mets for the first time. Not the best timing.
Aaron Nola, Taijuan Walker and Zack Wheeler will pitch in the first three games of the four-game set, with the finale on Sunday to be determined. They'll have to get creative with that last game, without an off day before the long series against Atlanta.
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