Philadelphia Phillies Philes Vol 1.18: Dropping the ball

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Even all-burgundy uniforms can’t mask the problems of the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies. We’ll explore that and more in this week’s Phillies Philes.

Leading off

Riding a wave of excitement and anticipation coming into the season, the Philadelphia Phillies continue to show what a weak-minded bunch of under-performing individuals they really are. And much like last year, everything is falling apart at the seams.

Pitching? Eh.

Fielding? Bleh.

Hitting? What hitting?

The team lacks continuity, talent, effort, and any sense of development. This is an organizational problem much bigger than one manager or general manager. Unless and until there’s a philosophical shift at the top, the Phillies will remain irrelevant as they finish in third, fourth, or fifth behind the Braves and Nationals every year.

Movin’ on up

Aaron Nola‘s spot in the rotation has been bumped up a day, as he is set to take the hill for today’s finale against the Braves. In a week with several off days, Nola will still be pitching on his regular rest. Recently acquired Drew Smyly will now start Tuesday’s matchup against the uptick Giants.

Will Nola’s presence on the mound make any difference? We’ll find out at 1:05 PM.

Delivering a letdown

Heading into the season, the Phillies were relying on the arms of three veteran bullpen pieces: newcomer David Robertson, and returning relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek. With Hunter done for the year and Neshek likely to follow, only Robertson has a realistic chance at returning. Out since April 14th with an elbow strain and no timetable for return, his potential addition may prove too little, too late.

This has been an utterly disastrous season for Matt Klentak and his pricey expectations. Between the three, the Phillies have paid $24.75 million for exactly 30 innings pitched. Ouch.

Injuries to Seranthony Dominguez and Victor Arano only compound the bullpen woes.

Most Valuable Phillie Power Rankings – Top 15 (through 7/27/2019):

  1. Rhys Hoskins (1B) – Previous Rank: 2 (↑ 1)
  2. Aaron Nola (SP) – Previous Rank: 3 (↑ 1)
  3. J.T. Realmuto (C) – Previous Rank: 1 (↓ 2)
  4. Bryce Harper (OF) – Previous Rank: 5 (↑ 1)
  5. Scott Kingery (OF/INF) – Previous Rank: 4 (↓ 1)
  6. Cesar Hernandez (2B) – Previous Rank: 6 (↔)
  7. Hector Neris (RP) – Previous Rank: 9 (↑ 2)
  8. Jake Arrieta (SP) – Previous Rank: 11 (↑ 3)
  9. Jean Segura (SS) – Previous Rank: 7 (↓ 2)
  10. Zach Eflin (SP) – Previous Rank: 10 (↔)
  11. Maikel Franco (3B) – Previous Rank: 8 (↓ 3)
  12. Jose Alvarez (RP) – Previous Rank: 13 (↑ 1)
  13. Jay Bruce (OF) – Previous Rank: 12 (↓ 1)
  14. Nick Pivetta (SP) – Previous Rank: 14 (↔)
  15. Adam Morgan (RP) – Previous Rank: N/A (↑)

“Ring the Bell” Award Winner of the Week

Marketing ploy? Perhaps. But the person responsible for bringing the all-burgundy Phillies uniforms out of retirement last night earns this week’s honor.

The uniforms are not the most attractive, but they’re a part of Phillies history, and that’s special. Worn one time before – during a 10-5 loss on May 19, 1979, against the Montreal Expos – the uniforms made their return after a 40-year absence.

While the Phillies are now 0-2 in the all-burgundy’s, the fact that they were brought from the ashes is pretty cool. Maybe one day the Phillies will actually deliver a win while wearing them.

Or not.

After last night, it’ll probably take longer than 40 years for them to see the light of day again.

Phillie Pholly of the Week

Well, I could give it to the entire Phillies team for their poor play, mental lapses, and overall deficiencies, but that’d be more of the same. Likewise, I could give it to the Phillies scouting and player development departments again – (*development* said very loosely) – for their inability to produce Major League quality talent, which appears even more glaring when a winning team built from within like the Braves comes to town.

But instead, I’ll give it to one person for a significant over-assessment.

After last Sunday’s win over the Pirates, Gabe Kapler compared Drew Smyly’s look to that of former Phillies ace, Cliff Lee.


Drew Smyly was okay getting through the less-than-stellar Buccos lineup, but to say that the newly acquired lefty reminded him of Cliff Lee is an extreme mischaracterization.

In all fairness, I think Kapler was referring to his size and demeanor on the mound, but even then, never should Drew Smyly’s name be mentioned with the likes of Cliff Lee… or anyone half as talented.

For that, Gabe Kapler, you are this week’s Pholly. (Plus your team is really stinking up the joint.)

Phillies Phlashback

Today we flashback to July 29th, the trading day of choice for many Phillies’ blockbusters. Former GM Ruben Amaro Jr. – in particular – loved this day, as he facilitated big trades in three consecutive years.

It was July 29, 2009, when Amaro sent Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, and Lou Marson to the Indians in exchange for lefty Cliff Lee and reserve outfielder Ben Francisco. The move paid significant dividends as Lee was dominant for the World Series-bound Phillies.

He’d make another splash the following trade deadline, acquiring Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros in exchange for Anthony Gose, J.A. Happ, and Jonathan Villar.

His last July 29th move came the next year in 2011 when he’d again partner with the Astros to acquire Hunter Pence for Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, Josh Zeid, and a player to be named later (which became Domingo Santana).

One more memorable July 29th trade happened in 2002, when then General Manager Ed Wade sent disgruntled third baseman Scott Rolen – along with pitcher Doug Nickle – packing to the St. Louis Cardinals, netting the Phillies second baseman Placido Polanco and pitchers Bud Smith and Mike Timlin.

Will this July 29th bring any fireworks like year’s past? As it stands, the Phillies are fading faster than a fizzling-out sparkler. We’ll find out in 24 hours.

On Deck

The Philadelphia Phillies host the San Francisco Giants for three games before welcoming in the Chicago White Sox for a weekend series.