If there was any remaining doubt as to whether the Phillies were condenters or pretenders, their four-game set against the Braves this past weekend gave fans a bonafide answer. They are not contenders.
Marlon Byrd hit two home runs, but neither was anything more than a solo shot, and the Phillies faltered 3-2 in the series finale Sunday afternoon.
After being pretty much blown out in the first three games against the Braves, the Phillies kept it close, thanks to four scoreless innings from a very hot bullpen, but the Phils left 10 runners on base and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
They out hit the Braves 13-7 but couldn’t muster any offense aside from the Byrd bombs.
In the bottom of the ninth with two out, Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins hit singles, setting the table for Chase Utley to perhaps walk-off for the second time in one week.
But he popped up, fittingly of course, as the Phillies went 3-for-32 with runners in scoring position during the four-game set.
The Phillies have lost eight of their last 10. In Sunday's loss,they stranded a runner in scoring position in five innings.
They also suffered their first four-game sweep in over two years.
The Phillies will have to have a ferocious road trip if they want to maintain any hope of not being sellers as the trade deadline approaches.
But though three games in Miami could provide an opportunity to gain a little ground in the NL East, the Phillies are in an eight-game hole (36-46) and are double-digits below .500 once again.
It doesn’t help that they will face the National League’s best team, the Brewers, for four games in Milwaukee after the Marlins series and three in Pittsburgh against the above .500 Pirates.
Cliff Lee is still expected to return by the All-Star break in mid-July.