The Philadelphia Phillies should have breezed into the playoffs, at least on paper. With Bryce Harper on a 13-year deal, JT Realmuto imported from Miami, and the continued improvement of Rhys Hoskins paired with a rotation headed by Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, this team should have dominated the NL East.
If one part deserves more blame than most, it's the lackluster back end of their rotation, which features such duds as Nick Pivetta, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, and Zach Eflin. That less-than fantastic four has an ugly combined 5.01 ERA and have surrendered 69 home runs.
Through Sunday, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez and Jerad Eickhoff (inj) have made 53 starts. They’ve combined for a 5.01 ERA, 16-23 record and 69 HRs allowed - an ungodly 2.1 homers per nine innings. https://t.co/NuQIF3p5QH— Glen Macnow (@RealGlenMacnow) July 22, 2019
Even with Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta regressing, their lack of depth has been critical for them. Eflin has fallen off the table ever since he lost command of his breaking pitches, we've been waiting for the emergence of the "true" Velasquez for four years, and Pivetta has been a roller coaster ride for the past three seasons, boasting impressive strikeout numbers but has proven inconsistent at best.
Matt Klentak at least has a clear priority before the offseason. Get some starting pitching depth ASAP.
I'm not a Saber Metrics guy, but those numbers sound bad.— Paul Christman (@nordique1972) July 22, 2019
They may have 12 more years of Bryce Harper, expect plenty more of disappointing seasons like this unless Klentak gets some better pitching. The market is ripe with pitching talent, so they should be looking to make a splash.