The Phillies are still struggling to right the ship, as we get ready to enter the third month of the season. Here at the end of May they are just 25-29. They are 6.5 games back from the Braves, and 4th in the NL East. There are also 5 Wild Card teams ahead of them. They have no 5th pitcher, and the bats are still struggling. That continued yesterday, when the Mets beat them 2-0. Kodai Senga shut the Phillies out. No Phillies hitter even reached 2nd base in the game. Nick Castellanos hit the lone hard hit ball of the night, and Brandon Nimmo robbed him of a extra base hit.
It is a far shot from what we expected from them this season. So what is wrong? Are these issues fixable? Is this just who the Phillies are or is there a turnaround coming up? The Best Show Ever talked to Hall of Fame Baseball writer Jayson Stark today from The Athletic to get some insight into the Phillies issues.
One of their main issues, is the complete lack of a 5th starter. They tried Bailey Falter, and he could not get the job done. Most recently they tried Dylan Covey, and he looked awful too. And Jayson Stark did not see an obvious fit in the system to address that issue.
“No disrespect to Dylan Covey, but he is 6-30, with a 6.60 career ERA, that would be the worst career ERA of any pitcher in the last 90 years… He is coming off one of the worst starts in the history of the franchise. Its obvious you need to do better. My sense is they are trying to find somebody… Christopher Sanchez is always an option. I know Dave Dombrowski said how your 5th starter does should into be a big deal, but they have won 1 game by their 5th starter the whole season. They know they need to upgrade that. I would expect that to be sooner, rather than later, but there is just not much out there…”
Apart from the Phillies lack of a 5th starter, some of their main starters have also been an issue. Ranger Suarez looked much better last night, and is still building up arm strength after missing the start of the season. Nola has been hard to predict. Wheeler has had his struggle. And Taijuan Walker had an awful start to the season. But most of Walker’s recent starts have looked good. And Jayso Stark explained what he thinks has changed that has Walker looking better.
“He has leaned into this split. He is throwing his splitter 40% of the time. Is commanding it better… Has thrown more strikes in general. I don’t know how good he is, or whether he will live up to that contract. But he will go as far as that splitter will take him.”
Stark also discussed the odd choice to sit Bryce Harper, the Phillies lineups struggles overall, and more. You can listen to the full conversation with Bryce Harper below…
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