A walkoff home run on Sunday helped the Phillies avoid a sweep against the Washington Nationals. But yet another series loss dropped the team to 48-45.
The Phillies now find themselves 8.5 games out of first place in the NL East Division and in control of the second NL Wildcard spot. Here are three numbers that highlight the Phillies performance this weekend.
Six: Maikel Franco hits
After coming out of the gates hot to start his 2019 season, the third baseman has been struggling. He picked it up a bit in July with a 1.121 OPS since July 1, and he was the Phillies best hitter in the Nationals series.
Over ten at-bats, Franco had six hits, including a double and two home runs. He also provided the thrilling walk-off blast in Sunday’s game. Franco has never showed the ability to keep hot streaks like this up for an extended period of time. But at least for now, he has breathed life into an offense that appeared on life support for much of this series.
Eight: Runs scored total in the series by the Phillies
Despite Franco’s excellent series, the offense struggled to score runs off Nationals pitching. That includes a staff with one of the worst bullpens in baseball. Leadoff hitter Scott Kingery only had one hit in the entire series. Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper combined for just two extra-0base hits. Phillies pitching has been bad all year long, and this high-powered lineup needs to step up to prevent the recent downward spiral from continuing.
Two: Blown leads by the bullpen
Even though the Phillies were unable to score runs consistently in this series, they did have two leads late in games on Saturday and Sunday. While they were able to salvage Sunday’s game despite this, Saturday’s game was lost because of a two-out, go-ahead home run off the bat of talented young Nationals outfielder Juan Soto off Phillies closer Hector Neris.
For the most part, the Phillies bullpen has been very bad in 2019. Other than Neris, the veterans have been unable to stay healthy (including another Tommy Hunter trip to the IL after Saturday’s game), and those who have stepped in as replacements have largely struggled. The staff 5.02 combined FIP is the worst in the NL, and the only hope at this point is to make trade deadline acquisitions, as well as to have the injured veterans, specifically David Robertson, get healthy.
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