Today’s Sunday matinee against the Nats concluded a two-week, 16-game stretch of facing NL East foes. Back on August 26th, we asked fans on our Facebook page to predict what the Phils’ record would be over that span. Most of the comments on the post mentioned a 6-10 or 7-9 record. Our followers weren’t too far off as the Phils went 4-12. At this point in the season, the record is meaningless. What matters, is the development of the young players.
Vince Velasquez finished the year on a high note:
In Velasquez’s last two starts of his 2016 season, he ended the campaign as strongly as he started it, pitching 12 innings and allowing three earned runs. In Velasquez’s final outing against Atlanta, he tossed seven innings for just the third time this season. After struggling mightily in his previous three starts, Velasquez will have something to build on, as he’ll try to make a concerted effort to go deeper in ballgames in 2017.
Jake Thompson belongs:
I mentioned it in the previous Nationals series recap, Jake Thompson’s coming out party was the emphatic strikeout of rookie Trea Turner, as it powered him through seven gutsy innings. It was Thompson’s first taste of success in the big leagues. Over his last three starts (Nationals, Braves, Nationals), the 22-year-old posted a strong 2.33 ERA after his first four big league starts left him with an ERA below 10.
Jerad Eickhoff is a bulldog:
Over the 16-game stretch, Jerad Eickhoff provided another three quality starts. Without much buzz, hype, or flash, Eickhoff is the epitome of a bulldog. He takes the ball every fifth day and gives his club a chance to win every time out. Out of Eickhoff’s 28 starts, he has allowed three earned runs or fewer 22 times. The 26-year-old is ninth in the NL in innings pitched with 173.2.
A surging Adam Morgan:
“Here we go again”- our thoughts when Adam Morgan was shellacked in New York on August 26th. I think it was safe to say we had enough of Morgan. However, give credit when credit is due. Morgan has bounced back nicely, recording two economical quality starts against a capable Nats lineup and Miami. The 26-year-old lefty has added a two-seam fastball to his repertoire, contributing to his run of success. Morgan delivered his third straight quality outing in Washington earlier today, lowering his ERA to 5.73.
There isn’t much to speak of offensively. Over the 16 games, the Phillies recorded double digit hits just once. Their worst span, came against the Nationals in late August, where they mustered just NINE hits in the three game series, scoring a total of three runs. The Phils scored an underwhelming 40 runs during stretch, averaging out to 2.5 runs per game.
The offensive is still nowhere near threatening enough. The additions of catcher Jorge Alfaro and outfielder Roman Quinn will hopefully provide the Phils with more punch through the final two weeks of the season, giving us a reason to watch.
The Phils will take a break from the NL East beginning tomorrow night, in a four game series against the free-falling Pittsburgh Pirates.