1964 holds a dubious place in Phillies history. When fans hear “1964”, their minds will go to the infamous late season collapse in which the team blew a 6.5 game lead with only 12 games to go. After that, though, one of the highlights of 1964 happened on Father’s day, when Jim Bunning threw what was only the 5th perfect game in major league history (and the first in the National league in the modern era). It took only 90 pitches for Bunning to cement himself in baseball and Phillies history. Earlier this week, he passed away at the age of 85. May this Phillies icon rest in peace.
- Game 42: Loss, 1-8. Outside of Aaron Altherr’s two doubles (still hot!), the Phillies only had one hit in the entire game, with zero walks to soften the blow. The Rockies took the lead in the 3rd and would not relinquish it. Seems pretty selfish, hogging the lead to themselves the whole time like that. More like the Colorado Hoggies.
- Game 43: Loss, 2-8. Eflin. Yikes. It was likely his performance was going to regress, but this goes beyond what I expected. If you can look beyond the drubbing, you’ll see that Odubel Herrera hit a double to end his “no extra base hit” streak at 10 games. So that’s something.
- Game 44: Loss, 2-7. With this loss, the Phillies had moved to 4-20 over their last 24 games. To find a worse 24-game stretch, you have to go all the way back to September 22, 1999 (although this stretch has been matched a few times). Maybe this is rock bottom? (As I was looking at 24-game stretches, I found this tidbit – during the best 24-game stretch this season, the Phillies won 11 games. In the WORST 24-game stretch in 2011, the Phillies won 10 games. Oh, how things have changed.)
- Game 45: Win, 2-1. The Phillies ended their 5-game losing streak behind Vinny V, but The Velasquez Triangle once again applied – this time, “lots of strike outs” and “few runs” were picked at the expense of going deep. Despite this (and a golden sombrero + 1 for Odubel Herrera, 0-5 with 5 k’s), the Phils were able to win in extra innings thanks to Tommy Joseph’s walkoff single.
I don’t often like to assign blame (or credit) for wins or losses to a manager, but there was a move in this game that, had the Phillies lost, would have been hard to defend. Bottom of the 5th. No outs. Down by one run. Velasquez had already thrown 94 pitches, and his spot in the lineup had come up. With runs at a premium, do you bring in a pinch hitter to maximize your chances of tying up the game? Or do you go with Velasquez and try to wring every last out you can out of your starter? Velasquez stepped to the plate, and I thought Mackanin had gone with the latter. He promptly popped out, and the Phillies ended up going scoreless that inning.
When the 6th inning rolled around and Edubray Ramos was warming up, I realized Mackanin did not pick Door A or Door B, but rather had handcrafted a shittier Door C to pick. All’s well that ends well, I suppose.
- Game 46: Loss, 2-5. Nola’s second start post-DL didn’t go nearly as smoothly as the first, but he still managed to pitch 6 innings, striking out 5. The Phillies once again were unable to put anything together offensively, scratching out 3 hits and only avoiding the shutout with 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th. Another hum drum, run of the mill loss.
- Game 47: Win, 4-3. For the second time in three games, Tommy Joseph was the hero of the day, walking off the game with a single in the bottom of the 9th. There has been a lot of clamoring for Rhys Hoskins to get a chance at the show, but with the way Joseph has been playing, it’d be hard to justify bringing up Hoskins just to ride the pine.
- Game 48: Loss, 4-8. For the third start in a row, Zach Eflin gave up 7 or more earned runs. Unsurprisingly, the Phillies lost. Also unsurprisingly, Eflin was sent back to the minors.
The Phillies doubled their recent weekly win output, which is a good way to obfuscate the fact that they went 2-5. In that stretch, they were outscored 40-17. They have scored more than 4 runs only once in their last 13 games (something they’ve allowed their opponents to do in 9 out of the past 13 games). There are some promising young players (Joseph, Altherr, Hernandez), but there’s a lot that will need to turn around for this team to start stringing together wins. The Phillies aren’t good any way you slice ’em – by fWAR, their position players are 21st in the league, and the pitching side is even worse – 28th out of 30 teams. The only team that is worse on both sides of the ball is the Padres. All this just to say… pitching, offense, defense – this kind of losing takes a full team effort.