Is it Just a Matter of Injury for the Phillies?
April 20. That was the first day the Phillies placed one of their regular players on the injured list. On that day, the Phillies were 8-8. From that moment on, the Phillies have been without at least one key starting player in their lineup. Is this a matter of injury or is it something else?
Here is a rundown of the key injury moments for the Phillies offense and games missed to injury:
- Jean Segura: 16
- Didi Gregorius: 24
- Bryce Harper: 17
- J.T. Realmuto: 14-15 (catchers have regular days off so this isn't so clear)
This of course does not include Roman Quinn, who was limited to 28 games after two injured list stints, the latter of which should end his season. Center field of course has seen a revolving door after Opening Day starter Adam Haseley departed the club for personal reasons.
The big four bats - Segura, Gregorius, Harper, and Realmuto, who account for a combined $76,484,615 of the payroll - or 37% of the total team payroll - have simply not been in the lineup together. These four key cogs to the lineup have played in the same game just 18 times in the first 54 games.
This 18 includes three starts by Andrew Knapp, on a catcher's expected day off. Realmuto did appear in these games, however.
The Phillies are certainly not getting the offense they envisioned when they spent $123.1 million to re-sign Realmuto and $28 million to re-sign Gregorius.
The Phillies averaged 4.5 runs per game in those 18 games. In the games when those four do not appear, the Phillies score 3.67 runs per game on average.
The Phillies are 10-8 when all four play. They are 15-21 when at least one of the four is missing from the lineup.
The good news is that Realmuto is now healthy. Segura is healthy. The Phillies remain without Harper and Gregorius. This puts the Phillies at some disadvantages.
Brad Miller is a nice utility player. But thanks to injuries and poor play from Matt Joyce, the primary outfield sub, Miller has been the subject of some tough miscues in the outfield. The same was true for Scott Kingery, who suffered a concussion attempting to play right field.
Nick Maton can catch the ball, but has not gotten a hit in his last 10 games played. Matt Joyce homered in Tampa Bay on Saturday, but he is batting under .100, enough that Phillies manager Joe Girardi does not wish to play him.
Though he had a dry spell, the Phillies are still getting offense from Rhys Hoskins. Alec Bohm seems mired in a sophomore slump as pressure builds from the big guys being absent. Odubel Herrera has provided much more than many expected after a slow start.
Andrew McCutchen has struggled overall, and with so many injuries the Phillies can't use Miller or Joyce as subs.
So is the key to the Phillies a major change, or simply getting healthy?
Ideally, the Phillies will let Miller make his appearances at first base, second base, or pinch-hitting. The Phillies need better from Joyce, the veteran who was supposed to be a stable bench bat. And Maton will have to learn how to adjust to the pitchers who are learning how to pitch to him.
Injuries throughout the National League East has let the Phillies hang around. Can the Phillies get some reinforcements via trade? What about the pitching? There are questions there, too. But the Phillies offense is not the same without their most expensive pieces.
Simply put: the big bats must get healthy for the Phillies to compete.