The offense came to play on Sunday, scoring 10 runs as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets and won the three game series. They improved to 74-68 and now sit just two games back of the Chicago Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot.
Here are three numbers that highlight the Phillies performance in this series and what it means moving forward:
19 – Runs Scored
The Phillies have been up and down as a team of late, but the offense has certainly been better. That continued in this series, as the offense led the way in both of the wins and brought them back into the game they lost.
The most impressive aspect of the Phillies lineup of late is that everyone has been contributing, and that continued in an all-around effort in this series. Five different players hit a home run and 10 different players scored a run in the offensive onslaught. Maikel Franco, who has spent much of the last month in Lehigh Valley, had four hits in the series, including a big home run on Sunday. Adam Haseley, who struggled greatly for much of August, has come on of late, hitting a home run on Sunday and keeping the lineup moving over the past couple weeks:
Adam Haseley, last 12 games:
.359/.419/.538, 5 XBH, 5 RBI, 6 R, 4 BB, 6 K
In addition to hitting very well, the rookie has made two excellent, run-saving defensive plays during this span. If he continues this, he may just play himself into a starting role on next year's team.
— Jonny Heller (@jonnyheller) September 8, 2019
The Phillies best chance to remain in the playoff hunt lies in their lineup continuing to hit like it did in this series.
Six – runs allowed by bullpen
With all of the injuries sustained by the Phillies bullpen this year, it isn’t surprising to see it struggling at this point in the season. July acquisitions Blake Parker and Mike Morin, who both pitched well early on for the Phillies, have a combined 12 ERA since August 30. Many of the other arms in the ‘pen, such as Nick Pivetta and Nick Vincent, spent much of the last month in Lehigh Valley.
If the Phillies make the playoffs, it will be in spite of their bullpen. After the offense staged comebacks in the last two games of the Reds series and the first game of this series, the bullpen blew the games. Those are three games that, with a competent bullpen, the Phillies could win. And on Sunday, the offense bailed the bullpen out multiple times to keep the lead.
2.0 – games back of National League Wild Card spot
The Phillies do not feel like a playoff team. While they have hit better of late, their flaws in the rotation and the bullpen continue to show, and it is difficult to imagine this team playing October baseball. They are entering their toughest stretch of the season, and while they have stayed in the hunt, they haven’t necessarily played better of late:
The Phillies are lucky to even be in the hunt. They are:
5-5 in their last 10
10-10 in their last 20
15-15 in their last 30
About as mediocre as a team could possibly be, but they're still in this. The rest of the NL has just been that bad.
— Jonny Heller (@jonnyheller) September 9, 2019
Still, the Phillies are just two games back of a postseason spot with 20 games remaining. Their chances are not high, with a very difficult schedule coming up, but with none of the other National League teams playing well enough to run away with that second Wild Card spot, the Phillies could stay in this until the end of the season.
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