The collapse of the 2018 Philadelphia Phillies was one of the biggest in franchise history. Who is to blame for this disaster?
To cheer up the passionate Phillies fans, lets take a flashback to a better, more hopeful part of the 2018 season. On August 12, the Philadelphia Phillies held a one-game lead in the division with a 65-52 record. This would be their final day of the season that they lead the division.
Unfortunately, we must live in the present, where all went downhill from the 12th. The Phillies would finish the 2018 season with an 80-82 record, going 15-30 in the final stretch of the season. The long-time faithful fans of the team are reminded of their collapse in 1964 when watching this season conclude. Although the ’64 season ended in a much shorter time span, with more at stake, they both ultimately had the same conclusion: another year without a playoff run.
There were many factors to the team’s disappointing finish, as it truly was a complete team effort. From the pitching staff and their consistent struggles, to the numerous errors all season catching up to them, to struggling to produce any offense.
The major focus of my last article was just in the struggles of the pitching staff, which was the leading factor that continued for the final 11 games of the regular season. Besides Nola, the combined ERA of the team was 5.85, which just will not get the job done.
This especially will not get the job done with almost non-existent run support from the Phillies offense. They had eight batters with over 50 at-bats in the month of September, everyone besides Wilson Ramos hit under .258, where Ramos hit .288. This starting eight hitters only drove in 68 RBIs in 28 games. It does not take a statistician to realize a 2.43 runs per game average will struggle when up against a starting pitcher run per start of 3.23.
Another key factor for the Phil’s postseason collapse was their sloppy play in the field. On the season, the team could not make the routine play 123 times. This may not seem like a huge factor, but as any old-school baseball fan will tell you: errors lead to runs. And once again, runs were not something this team could afford to be giving away, and they also could not allow their pitching staff to produce more outs than needed.
The final point of blame for the team’s disappointing finale was the main man in the dugout. Gabe Kapler’s 80-82 record in his first season in the position sounds like nothing to be concerned of. However, it was the decisions he made that left these Phillies fans scratching their heads. Whether it was the starting lineups, pulling the pitcher too early, or the arm coming out of the bullpen, many have been unsatisfied with his first year, and blame him for the season. Whether this is due to the passionate fandom at Philadelphia demanding excellence, or of actual managerial mistakes, will be for the front office to decide.
The transformation from the Phillies standing strong as the probable NL East champion on August 12, to the regular season concluding where they were not even the second-best team in the division, the 2018 season for the Philadelphia Phillies will certainly leave a bad taste in their mouths as they look to improve for April of 2019.
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