By Connor Thomas
After 18 long innings, the Philadelphia Phillies scored a run in an MLB game last night, ending their scoreless streak that started in the 6th inning of Sunday’s loss to the New York Mets. It was a scoreless streak that would make Steve Carell’s character in “The 40 Year Old Virgin” proud. And no, they were not facing Cole, Scherzer, or deGrom. Their 18 inning home-plate-touching drought came at the hands of the Mets bullpen and the Baltimore Orioles. Now the Mets pen isn’t terrible; they boast a 3.98 bullpen ERA, good for 13th in baseball. 4 scoreless innings facing them is just a slow offensive night. In a vacuum, that performance probably wouldn’t even raise an alarm for a team. But the Phillies didn’t pick it up the next night.
They then proceeded to get shut out by the Orioles. The Baltimore freakin’ Orioles. Their bullpen ERA? 5.67. The worst mark in baseball. Their total team ERA? 5.89. ALSO the worst mark in baseball. “Oh, but maybe they have a really solid defense” you might think. Nope. The Orioles are the absolute worst team in baseball. John Means, who started for Baltimore on Monday, had not had a scoreless outing since May 11th. The O’s had not shut out an opponent since mid-July, when they blanked the 69-83 Kansas City Royals. The Phils weren’t satisfied with just getting shut out in the opener, though. The first 5 innings of last night’s ballgame were also scoreless for the guys in red and white, as they extended their scoreless streak to the inning equivalent of two full Major League games. And then, the bottom of the 6th inning came around, and the Phillies finally broke out.
I’m sorry, did I say broke out? I meant scored a single run against the worst team in baseball. They didn’t score in the 7th, 8th, or 9th innings. It took til the bottom of the 10th for the Phillies to put together a 2 run frame (with a runner starting on 2nd of course), and eventually walk off a 3-2 victory over the Orioles. Listen, they won a game. And teams do get cold over the course of an MLB season. They’re not an incapable team like the 103 loss O’s, but this is just the latest example of why the Phillies are not destined for the 2021 MLB Postseason. Playoff teams do not get shutout for 18 straight innings of baseball against the best pitching on the planet, much less against the worst team in baseball. To stay in and ultimately win a pennant race, a team has to show a consistency when it comes to beating bad baseball teams. The Phillies have proven time and time again that they just do not have that ability in their DNA. So, the scoreless streak is over, but the streak of playoff-less seasons, which is verging on a decade long, is still going strong. Bryce Harper’s MVP-caliber season is incredibly impressive, and should be heavily commended, but the rest of the team will have to prove something they have yet to show this year to catch the Atlanta Braves over the next 11 games and end another bad streak.