Fourteen Philadelphia Phillies teams lost 100 games or more in their 133 year history. Today, the 2015 Phillies assured they would not be among that infamous group. In a game that saw David Buchanan strike out seven, an Erik Kratz start at first base, and Ichiro Suzuki take an MLB mound for the first time in his career, the Phillies closed the book on 2015 with a 7-2 win over Miami on Fan Appreciation Day.
Buchanan Earns Moral Victory
The 2015 Phillies had 29 pitchers, and one position player, take the hill for them with 12 players starting five games or more. Seven of those pitchers had an ERA of 5.80 or greater. One of those pitchers was David Buchanan.
Buchanan had been an asset for the 2014 Phils, a ray of light in a rotation of Cole Hamels and a handful of retreads. Buchanan’s 2015 was markedly different. While there were signs that he was pitching a bit over his head (his FIP and xFIP were a bit higher than his ERA, his BABIP a shade lower than most stops he had in the minors prior to 2014), there was nothing that indicated Buchanan was “6.99 ERA” bad. But Buchanan, for one day, turned a forgettable season around and pitched really well. Buchanan scattered six hits across six and two thirds allowing his only earned run of the day on a homer off the bat of the 2015 NL Batting King, Dee Gordon (3-4, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 R) while striking out seven. Despite Buchanan’s pitfalls in 2015, he should compete with a very youthful group for a spot in the 2016 rotation.
Today’s Phillies box score should give you hope for the future. The Phillies’ season MVP (in my eyes, at least) Odubel Herrera did not start but walked and doubled in a reserve role, scoring two runs while raising his average to .297 for the season. Herrera’s double, his 30th of the season, made him the first Phillies rookie since Juan Samuel in 1984 to reach 30 or more in their freshmen campaign. Among Phillies that qualified for the batting title, and there were only three, Herrera led the team in average, OBP, OPS, hits, doubles, and fWAR. When adjusted to 250 PA or more, Herrera retains his lead in all categories minus OBP & OPS, which are then relinquished to Andres Blanco. Because of the high volume of super rookies, it is very unlikely Herrera will get any play as a NL Rookie of the Year candidate but he should receive a few down ballot votes. Depending on the performance of Matt Duffy tonight, Herrera may win the NL Rookie Batting Title.
Aaron Altherr exhausted his rookie eligibility earlier this week but continued to make the best of his Major League audition. Among Phillies with at least 100 plate appearances, Altherr was third on the Phils in SLG and wOBA, while being the second-most valuable position player according to fWAR on the Phils for 2015 in just 40 games. Altherr had a double and a triple, going 2-for-5 with four RBI.
Fellow rookie Cameron Rupp ended his season with a 1-4 game with a double while Darnell Sweeney, who struggled through September with a .125/.222/.234 line, contributed with a pinch-hit RBI double. Maikel Franco started at third and went 1-for-3 with a single, walk, and a run scored. From the pitching rubber, 29-year old rookie Dalier Hinojosa wrapped up his fantastic rookie season with a scoreless eighth, lowering his ERA to 0.73 with 23 K in 24 and 2/3rd innings pitched in the Majors.
The Phillies will not the field again officially until Spring Training but we appreciate you keeping up with your favorite team here at Phillies Nation throughout the 2015 season. The offseason should be one of the most interesting in quite some time after a season of great change. We look forward to bringing you the latest updates, rumors, exclusive interviews, and so on as the offseason starts.
From all of us at Phillies Nation, we thank you for staying with us throughout this season.