Being from the suburban Philadelphia outskirts and the baseball freak that I am, I have been blessed with growing up in the midst of the 2008 Phillies World Series run and subsequent playoff appearances after that. But since 2011, the Phillies haven’t reached the postseason, but looking at this season it seems that we may finally get what we have been waiting so long for.
But sadly we have a problem, and it’s the pitching. Now granted, our bullpen has been devastated with injuries from David Robertson to Seranthony Dominguez to Pat Neshek. Our starting rotation though has been another story. The only person I actually trust to win a game is Zach Eflin, and that’s a problem. Though none of us could have expected Aaron Nola to be as sub-par as he has been.
We were told in November, 2018, before the start of free agency by Phillies owner, John Middleton, they were ready to spend money and even get a little stupid about it. Well, other than giving Bryce Harper the largest free agent contract of all time and signing Andrew McCuutchen they did nothing to improve the rotation. My question is why? Were the starting pitchers on the market thin? Absolutely.
Coming into this season we expected Aaron Nola to be just as good as last year and for Jake Arrieta to be a somewhat version of his old self, but after those two there are question marks for the rest of the rotation. We had no clue what we were getting from Jerad Eichoff, Vince Velasguez, Zach Eflin, or Nick Pivetta. We knew they all had the stuff to be top of the line starters, but only Eflin has been better than advertised.
How come the Phillies didn’t even attempt to put some pieces to the puzzle. Pitchers like Patrick Corbin, Dallas Kuechel, Gio Gonzalez, Garrett Richards, or even veteran guys like Matt Shoemaker and Mike Fiers, who would have made more of an impact than who we have currently. Corbin signed with the Washington Nationals for $190 million and Kuechel was on the market until this past week as he was signed by the Atlanta Braves, who we are fighting with in the division.
Now, I’m not saying these guys would have made us the best team in the league, but it certainly would help. You can’t tell me that any of those guys plugged into our rotation wouldn’t help tremendously and just put us on another level. Granted, I do think we are in the 2006 or 2007 of our 2008 run, but Phillies fans wanted that 2008 year now. Philadelphia fans are tired of not having the success we want, especially since across the parking lot the Eagles just won a Super Bowl and the Sixers look like the team to beat for the next decade.
Truthfully, all us fans want are wins and rings, and we can’t stand seeing these holes in our team and then for management to do nothing about it, especially when we were promised stupid money would be spent. But, I don’t know what the future holds for this rotation or this ball club and it seems the only thing we can do is continue to voice our opinions and hope management listens.