Phillies Plummeting Towards the N.L. East Cellar

Leave it to Chris “Wheels” Wheeler, the Phillies’ color commentator, to put a positive spin on a 14 – 2 shellacking at the hands of the Miami Marlins. In the eighth inning, when the score was only 10 – 0, he said: “The last thing [the Phillies] needed today was to use three, four, five [relief] pitchers and right now they’ve only had to use two.” I beg to differ, Wheels. The last thing the Phillies needed today was for Doc Halladay to prove to Phillies’ fans that he’s washed up and done. Doc, I’d say mission accomplished. But this posting isn’t about the fact that Doc, a once-feared ace of a pitching staff, has become a mere shell of himself. It’s about how much worse it can get in the next week.

Starting on Monday, the Phils will play three games in San Francisco followed by four games in Arizona. Between 2010 and 2012, the Phillies have a record of 5 – 5 in San Francisco. A winning percentage of .500 against the team that won the World Series two out of the last three seasons isn’t too bad. Not great but not bad, either. However, based on how the Phillies performed against the last two Marlins starters (14 IP, 0 ER, 16 strikeouts), paint me a little concerned that Madison Bumgarner (3 – 0, 1.55 ERA) and Tim Lincecum (2 – 1, 4.41 ERA) are pitching Monday and Tuesday for the Giants, respectively. I haven’t followed the Giants that closely this season but, based on the fact that his current ERA is more than a run higher than his career ERA (3.34), it looks like Lincecum aka “The Freak” is off to a rough start.

However, the two-time Cy Young Award winner has owned the Phillies in San Francisco between 2008 and 2011. In that span, he went 3 – 0 with a 1.41 ERA in four starts. Breaking it down a little further, in those four starts, he pitched 32 innings allowing five earned runs, 21 hits and one walk, with 32 strikeouts. In 2012, though, the Phillies’ bats came around against him in San Francisco (6 IP, 5 ER).

It’s not going to go well for the Phillies against Lincecum or against the Giants, in general this week. As the saying goes, the Phils will “jump from the frying pan, into the fire.” Patrick Corbin is the scheduled starter for the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first game of the series. Corbin presents the Phillies with a double whammy: facing a really good left-handed pitcher on the road. Corbin is 4 – 0 this season in six starts with a 1.80 ERA. But wait, there’s more. According to, the Phillies are hitting a meager .207 against lefties, ranking 29th out of the 30 teams in the league. Away from Citizens Bank Park, the team is only hitting .224, which is tied for 26th in the league.

Here are a few more fun facts:

  • The Phillies are 2 – 3 this season when the opposing starting pitcher is left handed
  • The Phillies are 6 – 8 on the road this season
  • Since 2011, the Phillies are 42 – 25 (.627) against the N.L. West

Despite the Phils’ recent success against the N.L. West, these next seven games are not going to be pretty.

Prediction: Lincecum will go 8 innings in an 8 – 1 Giants win, and Corbin will pitch 7 innings in a 5 – 1 Diamondbacks win. Of the remaining five games on the road trip, the Phils will probably win three of them and end the road trip 3 – 4.

What do you think? What will the Phillies’ record be on this seven-game road trip? Leave a comment below.


3 thoughts on “Phillies Plummeting Towards the N.L. East Cellar

    1. section426 Post author

      Give up the rest of the season? Of course not. Ruben’s made his bed and now we the fans have to lie in it. What you’re seeing is a combination of a core group of hitters in decline (it happens to every team) and an inability for a GM to rebuild a franchise through quality trades and free agents (I’d throw quality drafts in there as well except players drafted high in MLB don’t necessarily have successful careers in pro baseball). On top of that, Ruben’s ability to properly address risk, particularly age, when it comes to negotiating contracts has been lacking as well (see, “Ryan Howard’s contract which owes him $25 million a year every year for the next four years”). Has he been playing like a $25 million / year player for the past three years? No of course he hasn’t. Ruben gave him a five-year contract extension when he still had over a year left on his previous contract. You don’t need to be an economics major to know that that’s dumb business.

      I digress …

      The players on the field are the ones playing the game of baseball for a living. That’s for sure. That’s who I post about. But it doesn’t help the situation when you have a GM who’s made numerous boneheaded moves over the course of his tenure. To answer your question, if you’re the Phillies, you keep playing the season out and if they make the postseason, great. If not, for the fans’ sake, there should be a new manager and GM next year or home attendance will drop even more than it has so far this season.


  1. Pingback: Kendrick Outpitches ‘The Freak’ By the Bay | Section 426

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