Phillies continue to search for answers after another embarrassing series loss to Marlins

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

After dropping a series to the NL-worst Miami Marlins, the Philadelphia Phillies must find answers to turn their season around.

As ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith would say, “this is bad, this is really, really bad.”

That seems like an appropriate way to describe the current state of the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies. A series loss to the Atlanta Braves was alright to accept since they’re one of the hottest teams for a reason.

Getting swept by the Washington Nationals in what could be described as a funky series that featured two-straight rain outs and a day-night doubleheader was also frustrating for numerous reasons.

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Take all this on top of a 1-5 road trip, what else could possibly go wrong?

A visit to Citizens Bank Park from the lowly Miami Marlins seemed like the perfect opportunity for the Phillies to get back on track this weekend.

This followed by a visit from the New York Mets, then a trip down to Miami prior to heading to Atlanta looked to be the perfect recipe for a hot streak from this Phillies team. There may still be time to salvage a successful stretch prior to the All-Star Break, but so far the results have been dim.

Aaron Nola shined on Friday night, but that was overshadowed by another putrid offensive performance. Saturday wasn’t much better, as Vince Velasquez looked good, but a bullpen meltdown and another lackluster offensive performance earned the Phillies their sixth-straight loss.

A team that, less than a month ago, was upwards of 10 games over .500 and held a division lead around three games has seen that all diminish. The Phillies head into Sunday just two games over .500 and looking up at Atlanta in the National League East.

The Phillies need answers, and they need them quickly. Gabe Kapler, whose job may very well be on the line these next few weeks, earned his first career managerial ejection on Saturday, and even that could not inject life into this Phillies team.

Losing a series to the Marlins is a bad look, made even worse when considering it came in Philadelphia. It seems too early to say the season is slipping away, but for a team that looked primed to make a push for the postseason, those hopes look dim at this point.

Another week or two of sub .500 baseball and Phillies playoff hopes may be even more far-fetched.

There is plenty of blame to go around when looking at the Phillies struggles. Kapler, obviously, has taken the bulk of the criticism, along with the front office and Matt Klentak, while hitting coach John Mallee may wind up being the scapegoat if the offense continues to sputter.

But, at the end of the day, it is the players that play and the pieces are there for this team to be better than they are showing right now.

Guys aren’t hustling, seen in two instances this week. First, Jean Segura failed to reach second on a should-be double and many called to his benching. Segura was back in the lineup the next night, much to the displeasure of the fans.

Then, Saturday afternoon, Cesar Hernandez was forced to hold at first after not hustling out of the box. The next at-bat, a double play.

Most of all, the higher profile players are just flat out underperforming. Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins both homered Saturday, but those two are not putting up the power numbers people were hoping for.

The fact of the matter is, these players are better than what they are showing. The Phillies are too talented to be playing this poorly, and over the course of a baseball season, teams will go through valleys and peaks. Fans just need to hope the following peak will be just as high as low as this current valley has been.

As the rest of the NL East continues to heat up, the Phillies must not fall behind. The division is going to be a dogfight, and the Phillies will need to be at their best if they wish to keep up.

The series loss to the Marlins has to be a wake-up call for Philadelphia, because there is no other option. Their manager took one for the team on Saturday, and now is the time for Phillies players to stick up for Kapler by stepping it up before it gets too late.