Is it panic time?
I want to start this article off by saying I am a very optimistic person. The cliche that rings the bell to me is “I look at the glass half full compared to half empty.” With all of that being said, the Phillies are two games back from the Braves in the NL East. Now, as I write this article it is August 16th. Which means there is still over a month left in the season. However, just a few weeks ago, the Phillies were in first place. So I ask you, is it panic time?
Three reasons why I think it’s time to panic:
As I started this article off by explaining how I am an optimistic person, I know baseball and I know this team. Throughout this article, I will be giving you three reasons why it is in fact panic time for Phillies’ fans.
#1 The inconsistent or lack of offense
Although the Phillies are 4-6 in their last 10 games, the offense has looked unfathomably bad.
#Phillies' offense on this road trip:
–Scoreless in last 19 innings
–7 runs in four games
–3-for-29 with runners in scoring position
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) August 11, 2018
As we follow the yellow brick road to the end of the season, this type of offense will not get the job done. There is absolutely no doubt that the problem is not the pitching staff. Although I do think you could argue that the bullpen has not been great, the starting rotation is giving this team a chance to win every single game.
Phillies pitching has been worth 17.5 fWAR this season, 3rd most in baseball. Only the Astros and Red Sox have more. Rotation ERA is 3rd, bullpen is 9th.
The Phils don't need a top-10 offense. They just need an average one that doesn't ride the roller coaster so much.
— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) August 15, 2018
On the other hand, the offense has not. The offense looks completely LOST at the plate. Not just Scott Kingery, who to many people think should be sent down, but just about every single player. This is not what you want as the team enters the homestretch of the season.
The Phillies’ offense NEEDS to do something if they want to make the playoffs. Hopefully, the additions of Wilson Ramos and Justin Bour to the lineup tonight will result is some more offense.
#2 The Phillies’ road record
Although the Phillies have the best home record in the National League (40-20), their road record is awful. The Phillies are just 27-34 on the road this season. This just will not bode well for a playoff run. Out of the Phillies’ remaining schedule, they have 21 home games and 20 road games. Yes, I know what you are thinking. “Wow that’s great, we have more home games than road games down the stretch!”
Yes, you are right, but the problem is if the Phillies continue to play poorly on the road they will not make the playoffs. Out of the 20 road games left, 10 are against the Nationals and Braves. Personally, I am not worried in the slightest about the Nationals. Washington is eight games back in the division and six games back in the wild card. However, the Braves are in first place right now and the Phillies have not shown up against this team all season.
Road record in 2018:
Phils only one with a losing record. https://t.co/IeX4UKXJma
— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) August 8, 2018
#3 The Braves
For the third reason, I chose the Braves. Although it is not just the Braves that the Phillies have to worry about. The Phillies are 1.5 games back in the division, but at this moment they have the second wild-card spot. They are just a game back from the first wild-card spot, but there is some traffic in the wild-card race. The Cardinals, Rockies, and Dodgers are all within 2.5 games back from the second wild-card spot.
With the closeness of the wild-card race, the division should be the goal for the Phillies. This may seem obvious, but for the Phillies organization and their fans, any way into the playoffs would be outstanding. This is why the Braves become the third reason why it is panic time for this team.
Just like the Phillies, the Braves are a young team with not much playoff experience. However, they are getting hot at the right time.
Ronald Acuna as led off the game with a HR for the fourth straight game…..and homered in 5 straight. pic.twitter.com/clu4CBirkE
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) August 14, 2018
The Braves are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have the almost identical home (34-25) and road records (34-27).
One month left
Even though I think it is panic time for the Phillies and their fans, there is still time. I mean come on, we all remember the Mets collapse in 2007, that happened in September. If the Phillies can do something, and I mean ANYTHING at the plate, they will have a chance. Their road record is not really something that they can change unless the offense begins to show up on a consistent basis. Finally, the Phillies have seven games against the Braves in the last two weeks of the season. This, if anything, should give Phillies’ fans some hope for a potential playoff run.
I am optimistic that the Phillies will be able to make a run at the postseason this year. Which will be ahead of schedule, that we should all remember.