Buyers or Sellers? Bryce Harper speaks ahead of 17 games in 18 days for the Phillies
The Phillies got swept in a two-game series against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both games, they should have won. In game one, they lost 3-2, and yesterday, they blew a five-run lead AND a four-run lead, ultimately losing the game 13-12 after Hector Neris blew another save.
As we inch closer to the end of June, only one team in the National League East is above .500. The New York Mets currently lead the NL East with a 38-31 record. The Nationals have won 9-of-10 games and sit in second place with a record of 36-36. The Phillies are in third place with a record of 34-7 and the Atlanta Braves are in fourth place, with a record of 35-39.
Yesterday I wrote about the fact that the Phillies need to stop pretending and realize they are not a World Series contender. I believe that is an accurate article making a case for the Phillies to play younger players and focus on the future rather than this year.
The Phillies will have a doubleheader today against the New York Mets, followed by games against the Mets on Saturday and Sunday. Although it might not be a “make or break” series, for the Phillies to compete this year, they will certainly have to beat NL East rivals, especially the first place Mets.
Either the Phillies will string together some wins over the next month, to convince Dave Dombrowski that they are, at the very least, playoff contenders, or they will become sellers at the July “trading season.”
Text from Bryce Harper’s Press Conference:
“We’re kind of depleted in the minor leagues and can’t really trade anybody and we don’t really have anybody to trade down there to get guys who are really, really good,” Harper said. “Dave Dombrowski needs to have faith in his team that we can go out there and win games, [that] if he goes out and adds somebody and if it’s worth it when that time comes.
“I, of course, want to put pressure on him to do that and as a team, we need to. But that’s only if we’re winning games. If we’re not winning games, then there’s no point in doing that, right?
“As a team, we can never think that we’re out of it. We can never think that this at-bat doesn’t matter or this game doesn’t matter. Every at-bat, every inning counts.
“We need to go into this weekend, get through it and hopefully win the series. Take it one game at a time, and we need to come out on top up there because if we don’t, it’s going to be miserable coming back from that and we can’t afford to do that right now.”
I mean look, Harper is right. The farm system is pretty much a joke at this point. There are no valuable trade pieces unless you want to give away the very few prospects you have. At the major league level, there’s not much to move either. Harper knows the importance of becoming buyers rather than sellers. The Phillies need to prove that they are in fact buyers, and have 18 games in 17 days to do.
They will face the Mets and Red Sox, two first-place teams in that span, as well as three teams with .500 or better records (Padres, Cubs, and Reds). The Marlins, funny enough, are the only team below .500 during the 17 game stretch, and boy, if you don’t know how badly the Marlins beat up on the Phillies then you haven’t watched enough games over the last few years.
We’ll just have to take this one game at a time, or in today’s case, two games at a time. The Phillies will have Aaron Nola and Matt More on the mound today in games one and two facing Taijuan Walker and David Peterson. Zach Eflin will pitch tomorrow against Jacob deGrom, and Zack Wheeler will face Jerad Eickhoff on Sunday. Both Nola and Wheeler are coming off terrible outings in which they combined to allow 15 earned runs on 10 1/3 innings.
Shaping up to be just a lovely weekend of Phillies baseball right? Anyone?