A Bucket of Cold Water
Happy Monday! The Phillies are 15-10, remarkably, and the team’s .600 winning percentage is fifth-best in the National League. The Phils have won six games in a row and nine of the last ten. They just swept the Nationals and the Indians, beating Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Danny Salazar along the way. Ryan Howard hit an extra innings walk-off homer against Cody Allen, one of the game’s best closers. The pitching staff has exceeded all expectations, and even the bullpen has come around. The catching duo has put up strong numbers at the plate. Most importantly, the team is having FUN and is a pleasure to watch.
Naturally, I’m here to destroy all hope and optimism you may have for the remaining five months of the season. With one month in the books, here’s how the Phillies’ hitters are performing and their corresponding rank among all 30 MLB teams.
|Hard Contact %||25.9%||27|
Well, at least they’re stealing some bases? Those offensive numbers should not be surprising considering the hitters the team has in its employ, but may come as somewhat of a shock in the context of how many games the team has won. Hey, they’re not the Blue Jays, and I’m not saying they should be or that anyone expected them to be. The lineup will probably look much different on August 1, or maybe much sooner if Nick Williams and/or J.P. Crawford arrive sooner than expected. For now, it’s Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, and not a whole lot else. Outside of Herrera, the outfield has contributed next to nothing offensively. While Freddy Galvis has flashed some wood with three homers, he’s still hitting to a 76 wRC+, just a hair above his career 72 wRC+. His double-play partner, Cesar Hernandez, is hitting .266 with a .326 OBP and .329 SLG. The first base platoon has been just about as dreadful as was expected: Ryan Howard has five homers but little else, and Darin Ruf is slugging .243.
The Phillies are averaging 3.28 runs per game, and are indeed five games over .500 on May 2. The low runs total and great pitching have combined for some very exciting games thus far. However, the anemic offensive production from a lineup that looks every bit the part of a bottom-five group will eventually catch up with and overtake the gains made by the impressive young pitching staff.