Week 2 In Review
- Updated: April 12, 2014
The young 2014 season has left fans scratching their heads as to what to make of the Phillies so far.
Week one saw them score more runs than expected, only to falter in the late innings with a patchwork bullpen. The starting pitching was a little bit better than advertised, save for an unusual flurry of runs against Cliff Lee.
Week two brought the Phillies back to Earth, and showed what might be the norm for the club this season.
The Milwaukee Brewers invaded Citizens Bank Park for the first home series of 2014. Philadelphia went up against one time Phil Kyle Lohse on opening day, new Brewer Mark Reynolds and right fielder Ryan Braun. Braun received nothing but boos for his use of performance enhancing drugs, treatment he can expect all year from all baseball fans.
Braun’s performance, however, was not to be forgotten, leaving the Phils reeling. He finished the series with three home runs and 10 runs batted in.
The Phillies bullpen, while always pitching from behind, did have some opportunities to keep games close. They were unable to, allowing a total of nine earned runs against Milwaukee.
The starting pitching did not fare much better, most notably Kyle Kendrick getting lit up for six runs on nine hits in five innings of work.
Philadelphia currently ranks 26th in the Majors in team ERA, at 4.62. Opponents are hitting .280 against them, and Phillies’ pitching has walked a total of 35 batters. They have also allowed 45 earned runs, eighth most in major league baseball.
Offensively so far, the Phillies have gotten their share of hits. They’re fifth in MLB in team batting average, hitting .268 as a unit.
A big problem the last few years has been getting on base. The Phillies currently sit tied for fourth overall in walks with 47. So more often than not they’ve been on base.
The problem of late has been crossing the plate. They left 25 men on base in the Milwaukee series, though to be fair they were playing from behind the entire time. Still, they have not been able to score runs in bunches. Keep in mind that these offensive numbers are all a bit inflated with the 14-10 outburst in Arlington against the Rangers on March 31st.
The Phillies have not put up anywhere near those numbers since.
Friday night they faced one of the best pitchers in baseball when Jose Fernandez made the start for Miami.
His career ERA against the Phillies coming into the game was well below 1.00. The inconsistent offense figured to struggle against him, but this was different.
They came out swinging, not allowing the young righty to get ahead in the count. Though Fernandez did strike out six Phillies in a row at one point, he was not able to get comfortable all evening. The Phils fought aggression with agression, swinging early and often, and hitting his fastball to all fields.
Fernandez last only four innings Friday night, allowing six runs on eight hits. His usual control was met with plate discipline by Philadelphia, as he also walked four men. The Phillies beat the Marlins 6-3 to snap a four game losing skid and put the sweep by Milwaukee behind them.
The Phillies sit tied for fourth place in the National League East with a record of 4-6, three games behind the first place Washington Nationals. Only one team in the majors has fewer wins.
The Fightins’ know all too well how hard it is to climb out of a seven to ten game hole. Yes it’s only April, but if they plan on being competitive, every game matters. They must right this ship to remain in contention in July, much less September.
Stats Courtesy of Phillies.com
Photo Courtesy of Philly.com