Maybe the Phillies would have woken up Wednesday morning with a nine-game winning streak had it not been for the nearly two-hour rain delay that cost them Aaron Nola. Or maybe they would have just been silenced by Max Scherzer had the storm not hit South Philly.
Regardless, it was evident Tuesday night against the Dodgers that pitching depth remains the biggest hurdle for the Phillies to clear before they can reach October. Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Kyle Gibson have been excellent. Even Ranger Suarez, in a limited role, has been solid. But the fifth starter has been hard to trust all season. Move to the bullpen, and the back of the unit — Ian Kennedy, Hector Neris, and Archie Bradley — is strong. But the rest of the ‘pen makes you hold your breath.
The Phillies are thin on pitching, and that’s why J.D. Hammer was the first reliever to enter and why Matt Moore was pitching Tuesday night in a one-run game. If the Phillies are going to get to October, they’re going to need more from their non-marquee pitchers.
You’re signed up to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday during the season. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @matt_breen. Thank you for reading.
— Matt Breen (email@example.com)
The Phillies placed Rhys Hoskins on the injured list just as Andrew McCutchen gets set to return.
The Phillies fell in a battle of the bullpens after a rain delay and other observations from Lauber from a winning streak-snapping 5-0 loss to Dodgers.
Tonight: Kyle Gibson faces Dodgers left-hander David Price, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Ranger Suarez starts the series finale, 1:05 p.m.
Friday: Zack Wheeler opens series vs. Reds, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Phillies need a starter for the second game of the series, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: Phillies and Reds finish three-game set, 1:05 p.m.
Stat of the day
Today in 1983, Mike Schmidt was named the all-time greatest Phillies player in a vote by fans to elect a 13-player all-time team for the franchise’s 100th season. Schmidt garnered 19,767 votes while Steve Carlton finished with 14,174.
The centennial team included catcher Bob Boone; first baseman Pete Rose; second baseman Manny Trillo; shortstop Larry Bowa; outfielders Richie Ashburn, Garry Maddox, and Del Ennis; right-handed starter Robin Roberts; left-handed starter Steve Carlton; right-handed reliever Jim Konstanty; left-handed reliever Tug McGraw; and manager Dallas Green.
The team’s 140th anniversary is in 2023, and it’s interesting to imagine how the voting would go this time. Schmidt is still the greatest Phillies player, but a lot of players from 1993 and 2008 would have to crack the 13-man roster. Maybe the Phillies should have another vote.
From the mailbag
Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.
Question: Any reason to believe Alec Bohm will ever be a consistent fielder at third? Better to play Torreyes for defense alone? Seeing Schmidt/Bowa/Trillo on the dais on Saturday (and @JimmyRollins11 in booth) reminded me of how we took good D for granted during glory years. — Tim Quinn (@TKQ) on Twitter
Answer: For now, I think Bohm is what he is at third base. And it’s not for a lack of hard work. It just seems he’s going to have a tough time defensively. So you hope that the struggles can be a bit less noticeable and that he can produce enough offensively that you can live with poor defense.
Bohm’s slugging percentage, .352, is the seventh lowest among qualified hitters and more than 100 points lower than what he slugged as a rookie. But maybe there’s some hope. Since July 1, Bohm is hitting .301 with a .829 OPS in 94 plate appearances. Stretch those numbers over a full season, and you can live with his defense.
As for Torreyes, I would play him at shortstop or third base every time Kyle Gibson starts. Gibson recorded 10 of his 18 outs on the ground in his last start and runs one of the highest groundball rates in the majors. The Phillies should play their best defenders when he’s on the mound to make sure those groundballs become outs.