“Good Things?” The Phillies Need a Winner Among Them
The Phillies took the victory on Sunday afternoon against the New York Mets after a brilliant pitching performance by pitcher Zack Wheeler. The victory meant that the Phillies and Mets would split the four-game series. If a Phillies fan was asked if they would accept a series split ahead of the series, would they be okay with it? Probably. But the series highlighted a serious Phillies problem: a sense of apathy from a group that simply does not know how to win.
The Phillies starting pitching dazzled during the four game series:
- Aaron Nola kicked it off with 5 1/3 scoreless innings, which included Nola striking out 10 consecutive batters to tie a major league record.
- Matt Moore returned from the injured list to give the Phillies his best performance as a Phillie, going 5 scoreless innings
- Zach Eflin allowed the lone earned run from a starter on Saturday, giving the Phillies six innings
- Wheeler gave the Phillies seven scoreless
All in all - that's one earned run in 23 1/3 innings from their starting staff, with half of the games being seven-inning games with less of a need for a bullpen.
So the Phillies had a real opportunity to go from six games out of first place in the National League East to two games out of first place.
Instead, the Phillies leave New York exactly in the position where they arrived.Rhys Hoskins
The "good things?" What exactly would that be, Rhys?
Hoskins went 0 for 3 on the day, with a strikeout. He is now batting .230, appearing in key spots in the batting order out of necessity as the Phillies are down their double-place combination that includes Jean Segura, their most consistent hitter this season when healthy. Hoskins made a key error that led to the Phillies giving up the lead.
Would "Hoskins Walks in Phillies Loss" be an acceptable headline for Saturday's game?
Herein lies the problem. The Phillies lost. They're losing more games than they win. That is not a "good thing" for professional baseball players that should want to win, and should know how to win.
Maybe that is the issue. No one on the Phillies team has really won anything. Among the homegrown and players who debuted with the Phillies inlude Hoskins, Nola, Eflin, Alec Bohm, Odubel Herrera, Hector Neris, Ranger Suarez, Connor Brogdon, and the rookies like Luke Williams and Nick Maton that are in important roles.
Big names Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmtuo, and Andrew McCutchen cannot claim a postseason series victory among them. Wheeler has never pitched in a postseason game.
The biggest playoff pedigree belongs to utility infielder Ronald Torreyes, who made it to the ALCS in 2017 under manager Joe Girardi.
A utility infielder does not have the influence that others should have. So who are the winners that can help set the tone? Even a manager with a winning pedigree like Girardi cannot do it all. Neither could Jim Leyland when he took on the 1997 Florida Marlins.
The Marlins to this day credit their World Championship to someone who taught them how to be winners: Former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton.
Craig Davis of the Miami Sun-Sentinel remembered Daulton's contributions:
A long-haired, freewheeling figure known as "Dutch," Daulton wasted no time asserting himself in South Florida.
Pitcher Alex Fernandez recalls that within the first few days after Daulton joined the club he called the players together in the clubhouse and upbraided them for lackadaisical play.
"He chewed our ass because he goes, 'This is a country club here. What are we trying to accomplish here? We ain't going to win anything by being this way,'" Fernandez recalled Monday.
Leyland credited Daulton with helping the team learn how to win.
The Phillies have a lot of talent on this team, and they're paying big dollars for much of it.
Who can be a winner like Daulton and teach this Phillies team how to win? Focusing on the "good things" that aren't winning is getting the Phillies nowhere. Maybe Dave Dombrowski, who was the Florida Marlins general manager who traded for Daulton during that 1997 season, can find a winner to help this group learn how to win.