The Phillies are mired in misery.
Philadelphia (22-44) began Saturday on pace to lose 108 games the most the team has lost since 1945.
Manager Pete Mackanin joked that when he leaves home for the ballpark each day, his wife, Nancy, tells him he’d better win today.
“We have to be better,” he said in his office last week. “We’re finding out this year who’s going to be here in the future. There’s still a lot of season left. I’m hoping these guys are going to show progress.”
Mackanin said before the season the Phillies’ goal was to play .500.
“We haven’t been playing up to where I thought we would be playing at this point,” he said. “I think we’re better than what we’ve been playing. So far, it hasn’t happened. We need to hit better and pitch better. There’s no denying that.”
Our weekly look at where the Phillies stand:
The first baseman began Saturday with a 12-game hitting streak. He was batting .354 with four doubles, a home run and seven RBIs during that span.
The Phillies signed the right fielder as a free agent during the offseason. So far, the signing has been a complete bust. Saunders has been benched and began Saturday 1 for 26 in June. He had a .254 on-base percentage — the lowest of any National League outfielder with at least 200 plate appearances.
Fans and media have begun to call on the Phillies to release Saunders, but the team hasn’t given up on him.
“If you look at Michael Saunders’ career arc, he has been through both cold and hot streaks,” general manager Matt Klentak said last week. “The hot streaks tend to be really hot. The cold streaks, like the one he’s in now, can be pretty tough. We know if he gets going, he can carry this team for not a day, not a week, he could carry the team for a month. We still have the belief that Michael Saunders can turn it around.”
The Phillies finish an eight-game homestand with a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals this week. Philadelphia then heads west for a nine-game road trip that will take them to Arizona and Seattle before ending in New York against the Mets.
Prospect of the week
Each Sunday, The Press will focus on a player who could make the team a winner again in the not-so-distant future.
J.P. Crawford, triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs(tncms-asset)da29b288-5163-11e7-97bc-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
Projected arrival in Philadelphia: 2017
The Phillies drafted Crawford with the 16th pick in the 2013 draft. The shortstop is generally thought of as the organization’s top prospect. But he’s batting .194 for the IronPigs with 42 strikeouts in 206 at-bats.
What do the Phillies think of him now?
“His defense is still good,” Klentak said. “He still controls the strike zone. Obviously, he’s hitting .200. That will need to improve. He’s still 22. He may not be quite on the fast track that had been publicly anointed over the last few years. But as far as a long-term concern for his ability to contribute to this club, we are not concerned.”