The Phillies phinally (finally) broke out of their 5-game skid with a walk-off sacrifice fly from none other than Freddy Galvis on Sunday. With bases loaded in the 10th, Galvis smacked one to center to send the game winning run home. Of course, he couldn’t have done it without the clutch three-run shot in the 8th off the bat of pinch-hitter Aaron Alther (who?) and some actual good pitching down the stretch from Hector Neris. When the Phils put it together, it looks good. The issue is, they haven’t lately.
But look, when it’s all said and done, this Phillies team really isn’t that bad for what they are: Grade A scrubs. They went on a six game-winning streak in mid-April, but followed it up by going 2-8 in their last 10. These highs and lows are the expectation, unfortunately, considering no one knows if the offense or pitching will show up on any given day. The fact that Caesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, and Aaron Altherr are the top offensive performers is ridiculous. Hernandez has actually established himself as a solid player, especially with his defense and above .350 OBP, but everyone else… yikes. Mikel Franco might be the most frustrating “franchise” player on the field with his atrocious defense and hit or miss swing. He will be the next Ryan-Howard-post-MVP/Big-Contract, meaning he will lead the Phillies in HRs and RBIs every year while finishing last in the meaningful offensive categories. Tommy Joseph? The guy is a space cadet out there.
Other than Franco and Joseph, who were supposed to be the next studs, the offense meets low expectations. Odubel is off to a slow start and will only improve. Altherr, well, keep doing your thing with that banging .578 slugging percentage. Kendrick will make an impact when he gets back. He joins an outfield that’s 3rd in the majors with a .291 average. And lil ole Freddy Galvis can crank one every once in a while (he hit 20 dingers last year), but the dude is unreal in the field.
On the mound, inconsistency is the ringer. Hellickson and Eflin have been the loan solid starters, but Hellickson will be gone by the trade deadline if the Phillies are smart. Eickhoff has had back-to-back tough starts but is a year or two away from being a consistent number 2-3 guy. Nola needs to figure it out. Velasquez, brutal. Pivetta, see you in the minors. Buchholz, gone forever. Bullpen, they blow it. Do I dare mention the back-to-back-to-back Dodger 9th inning to tie and then win the game? The Jay Bruce two-run shot in the 8th with two-outs after the Phillies tied it in the top half? Yea, when you are losing headed into the 6-7th, this offense is unlikely to come back, but you have to give them a chance when they are up! Chances are, you get 4-5 innings of good relief pitching inside of bad ones and the Phillies are, dare I say, above .500 right now.
And they have hung in there! They are 4-5 against the Nats, they played the Cubs and Dodgers close, lost two one-run games to the Mets… and those are all teams contending for the pennant this season! Don’t expect the Phillies to be any good, but these guys are competing. But maybe right now, even though that dough-boy Tommy and no good bullpen make you karate chop coffee tables in half, and cause your dad to mumble stuff he doesn’t want God hearing since He cursed him with the most loosing franchise in all of sports history, we can be happy that this mediocre team is competing against damn good competition. We’ve got high hopes.