Philadelphia Phillies Philes Vol 1.27: End of the road

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

As the Philadelphia Phillies close out their season, we’ll celebrate a special day of baseball 12 years ago while speculating John Middleton’s offseason.

Leading off

Coming into the year, I predicted the Philadelphia Phillies would finish in second place behind the Washington Nationals, claim the second wild card spot, and lose to the Chicago Cubs in the one-game playoff. The standings according to my expert opinion were to be:

  1. *Nationals: 91-71
  2. ^Phillies: 87-75
  3. Braves: 84-78
  4. Mets: 76-86
  5. Marlins: 52-110

Clearly I was overly optimistic about the Phillies while significantly undercutting the talent of the Atlanta Braves. Either way, the year has been very disappointing for the Phillies, and as we ready ourselves for the unceremonious final game, the biggest question remains what will owner John Middleton do to right this ship for next year.

Gabe Kapler isn’t necessarily the problem, but he’s not part of the solution, and it’s time for him to go. Andy MacPhail is the president of a team that has consistently underwhelmed in his years at the helm, and it’s time for him to go.

Likewise, and perhaps most importantly of all, general manger Matt Klentak continues to fail the organization with his poor roster evaluation and dedication to analytics that result in record-level strikeouts, poor plate approaches, and bad baseball.

Yes, if the Phillies win Sunday they will have finished with a winning record for the first time since 2011, but in a season with World Series aspirations, this is a failure. What does a winning record mean when you’re the fourth best team in your own division?

We’ll soon know John Middleton’s answer.

Sweeping away bad memories

With Thursday’s 6-3 loss at Washington, the Phillies suffered their first five-game sweep since the Pittsburgh Pirates accomplished this feat over 40 years ago. In doing so, the Phillies finished their final road trip on the year with a forgettable 3-8 record.


We stand for Cookie

Cleveland Indians righty Carlos Carrasco pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings en route to the win versus the Phillies this past Sunday on ESPN’s final Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the season.

Coincidentally, the Phillies opened the season on Sunday Night BasebalI against the Braves.

Carrasco, who missed part of this season undergoing treatment for leukemia, picked up the save in the Indians 5-2 defeat of the Phils two games prior.

Following his diagnosis of chronic myeloid leukemia in June, Carrasco has been very active visiting with cancer patients and volunteering his time at the Cleveland Clinic as he battled to return to baseball. His story transcends baseball, and has rightfully captured the hearts of many.

Originally property of the Phillies, Carrasco was dealt to Cleveland in the package for Cliff Lee back in 2009, and led the American League with 18 wins in 2017.

Poetic Justice

In a weird way, it was only fitting that the Nationals officially ended the Phillies playoff hopes earlier this week. Obviously the Phils nabbed Bryce Harper from the Nats, but the team’s most dire need remained an upgrade in starting pitching, which the Phillies never achieved.

Meanwhile, their preferred pitching target during the offseason, lefty Patrick Corbin, joined the Nats and is now playoff bound.

Guess it’s true, good pitching will always win.

Most Valuable Phillie Power Rankings – Top 15 (through 9/28/2019):

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

“Ring the Bell” Award Winner of the Week

Harper unleashed a missile to nab former teammate Juan Soto at the plate Monday night. With his 13th outfield assist, Harper tied his career high set in 2013. For his defense and hustle all year, Harper earns this week’s bell-ringer award:

Phillie Pholly of the Week

As mentioned earlier, good pitching trumps good hitting. During the offseason, Matt Klentak addressed the offense, but failed to accurately assess his own staff.

As Corbin with the Nationals, and Dallas Keuchel with the Braves head to the playoffs from the East, Klentak will once again be watching from home, as the Phillies missed baseball’s promised land for the eighth consecutive year, the last four of which have been on Klentak’s watch.

For his oversight and poor talent evaluation, Klentak earns this week’s Phillie Pholly.

Phillies Phlashback

Let’s circle back to the last day of September 2007. Following an 8-1 Mets loss to the Miami Marlins at Shea Stadium, the Phillies needed to beat the Nationals in the season finale to claim their first National League East title since 1993.

While the Phillies went 13-4 over their final 17 games, the Mets stumbled to a 5-12 finish, allowing the Phillies to capture the divisional crown.

Jamie Moyer started the game, going 5 1/3 innings while allowing just one unearned run in the process. In what would prove to be the game-winning hit, Ryan Howard sent a liner down the right field line in the third, scoring Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins.

The Big Piece would deliver a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to cap off the scoring.

Brett Myers struck out the Nationals’ Wily Mo Peña to seal the deal, as the Phillies captured the 6-1 win. The ensuing celebration at Citizens Bank Park was the first of many over the next five years! (Video)

On Deck

One final game to go as the Phillies host the Marlins in Sunday’s season finale. The Phillies need a win to top the .500 mark for the first time since 2011. If they lose, they’ll finish at 81-81, the same as the 2012 Phillies.

Next. 3 reasons 2019 was complete bust for Phillies. dark

Make sure to stay tuned for a special Tuesday edition of Phillies Philes as we recap the season that was while presenting special (and some not so special) honors to those Phillies most deserving. You won’t want to miss this inaugural ceremony!