After personally racking up three of the Phillies' 14 strikeouts in Wednesday night’s 5-1 loss to the New York Mets, Bryce Harper pointed the finger at himself.
“As a team and as a club, we have to be better, especially in that batter’s box right now,” Harper said. “On a personal level, l need to do better. Punching out that many times in a game as a team or as an individual, I can’t do that. I need to have better at-bats, need to stop chasing stuff out of the zone.
“We had opportunities tonight and didn’t get the job done. Sitting right here, I need to be better in that three-hole. I know it’s early, but I don’t care if it’s early or not. I need to be good and the whole team does, as well.”
The Phillies have not been good on this road trip, particularly offensively. The defense has been pretty shoddy, too. But the offense has been a killer in New York.
After losing two of three in Atlanta, the Phils have lost three straight in New York. Their exciting 5-1 start has been followed by a humbling 1-5 stretch that has dropped them to 6-6 as they head into Thursday afternoon’s date with two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, arguably the best pitcher on the planet. Good luck with that one.
The Phils will send Zach Eflin to the mound and as capable as he is of playing the role of stopper, the Phils will end up being swept in the series if they swing the bats like they did in the first three games.
The Phillies struck out 14 times on Wednesday night, 10 against starter David Peterson in six innings.
The Phils also struck out 14 times in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. They lost that game, 4-3, and were shutout in the second game. They’ve scored just four runs in the three games in New York and produced only 15 hits. Only two of those hits have gone for extra bases.
“Wheels did his job and we didn’t support him as an offense,” Harper said. “That can’t happen.”
Three of the Phillies’ five losses on this road trip have come with Wheeler and Aaron Nola, their top two pitchers, on the mound. Lose often with your best pitchers on the mound and you’ll go nowhere.
“We can’t get behind in this division,” Harper said. “If you get behind, it’ll be tough to catch up. We need to be better as a team."
Twelve games into a season is no time to panic. Manager Joe Girardi isn’t one to do that anyway.
“We’re not swinging the bat particularly well right now and all offenses go through it from time to time,” he said. “We have a lot of guys struggling right now. I don’t think our swings are out of control or are too big. I just think we're missing balls, chasing a little bit.
“When you don’t hit, it seems like the world’s going to end, but again, everyone goes through this. You can’t predict when it’s going to happen. You don’t understand why it happens sometimes. It’s just happening right now, and we’ve got to get out of it. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got to fight our way out of it.”
Sleep fast. The date with deGrom arrives just after noontime Thursday.