While You Were Sleeping, Phillies Have Been Just Awful

The Phillies gave up 13 runs in back to back losses to the Arizona Diamondbacks the past two nights. Looks like that hot streak is over.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan (55) leaves the game during the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 11th.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan (55) leaves the game during the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 11th.

Despite the trade of Cole Hamels, it had actually been a nice couple of weeks to be a Phillies fan. It had maybe been the most fun stretch for fans of the team since the 2011 season.

Hamels was gone. Oft-booed closer Jonathan Papelbon was gone. Even Ben Revere had been traded. And in their places were guys like rookie pitcher Aaron Nola, Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera (an infielder playing center field) and Cesar Hernandez. At one point after the All-Star break, the Phillies were 16-5.

The Phillies won their first four games out of the all-star break, including a thrilling walk-off homer by Jeff Francoeur to complete a sweep of the Marlins. After that win, the (limited number of) fans in the outfield celebrated like the team had won the World Series, or at least a playoff game.

Just a few days later, the Phillies walked off again against the Tampa Bay Rays, as Odubel Herrera singled home Domonic Brown to win the game in the 10th. Then came the series against the Cubs, a series where the Phillies not only swept Chicago but Hamels threw his no-hitter as well. (Herrera ended it with a diving catch in center field; oddly enough, the most excited person on the field seemed to be Brown.)

The week following Hamels’ no hitter, the Phillies traded Papelbon, Hamels and Revere. And yet they kept winning. They split a two-game series with the red-hot Blue Jays. They took 3 of 4 from the Braves. They swept the Padres. They even moved out of last place in the NL East!

But the last two days have brought the Phillies back to earth. Obviously, a two-game swoon could just be a blip. But those two losses to the Arizona Diamondbacks (who are now just .500) have been ugly.

Maikel Franco was removed from last night’s game after being hit with a pitch on the wrist. That was the worst news (though x-rays were negative). The night before, the Phillies lost to the Diamondbacks 13-3. Last night was even worse: Starter David Buchanan gave up 11 runs in the second inning and the Phillies lost 13-1.

It was a terrible two-game stretch for the Phillies, and the short swoon echoes what Sports Illustrated’s Cliff Corcoran wrote about the team just yesterday: The winning streak was primarily a bad team on a hot streak, and they’d come back to earth soon:

So while the Phillies’ hot streak has not necessarily been a fluke, it is also not an indication that the Phillies are suddenly a good team. With very few exceptions, the performances that have propelled their recent success represent the performance ceilings of many of their players.

The consecutive routs dropped the Phillies back into last place in the NL East, moving them back into the position to have the No. 1 overall draft pick next year. They’re still 45-69, and just 19-21 since Pete Mackanin took over as manager after Ryne Sandberg resigned.

The upside of this two-game set? The games took place in Arizona, which means they started after 9 p.m. Lots of Phillies fans were asleep.

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