The Phillies must have read my article about them, because they had won four straight after a disastrous sweep at the hands of the Orioles prior to Wednesday’s game. The offense and the starting pitching have been been improving with every game, while the bullpen has been better than they were to start 2020.
Well, anything would be better than the way they started the season.
Starting pitching has been more than adequate, as Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler both tossed the ball very well in their last starts. Nola pitched seven innings while giving up three hits, walking two and striking out eight in the process. Wheeler also threw a strong seven frames, giving up two runs on six hits and one walk. They have both had strong starts to the year and have both been constants in an otherwise struggling pitching staff. Jake Arrieta didn’t throw that well yesterday, but hey, it’s Arrieta. What did you expect?
The real impressive area for this team, however, has been the response to the slow start at the plate.
Over the last five games, the offense has put up 34 total runs, including the 13-6 romp of Boston on Tuesday. One of the more impressive numbers is the fact that 10 of the runs they scored Tuesday came with two outs. Not only are they scoring runs in bulk, but it seems that players are beginning to find their strokes at the plate. Rhys seems to, finally, be adjusting to his new stance and swing and is starting to drive balls the other way. Cutch is awakening from his start of the season slumber and looks to finally be over the ACL surgery. Alec Bohm has come up and shown exactly why he was such a highly regarded hitter in the minors. There isn’t much else to say about Phil Gosselin other than the Goose is loose. Jay Bruce, Roman Quinn and Jean Segura have put together really good at bats.
Add in the already hot bash brothers Bryce and JT and, from top to bottom, our lineup is producing much better than at the onset of 2020.
And the underlying season stats prove this offense can be one of the best in the Majors. The Phillies are 5th in BA, 3rd in OBP and 2nd in SLG, slashing respectable .260/.344/.463 almost a third through the season. They are second in OPS (on-base plus slugging) only to the Yankees at .807 on the year. Hitting 1.52 HRs per game is a strong number, especially with today’s game relying so heavily on the round tripper.
Entering today at just 2.0 games back in the NL East after the embarrassment of the Orioles’ series is great. Even though yesterday’s game was disappointing, the Phillies have really started to swing the bats better. When more than two hitters are hot, this lineup becomes one of the deepest in the NL, if not the entire MLB.
They will play a doubleheader today against the Blue Jays, with Spencer Howard on the hill to face RHP Chase Anderson in game one at 1:07 p.m.. The Blue Jays, without their best player SS Bo Bichette, could be the perfect team to face to keep the momentum going.
If everything goes right, the Phillies could end the night in second place, just a game behind the Braves for first. With a three game series coming up against Atlanta this weekend, the outlook of the Phillies has changed drastically in less than a week.
Thanks for waking up, Phillies hitters!
Well, except for Scott Kingery…….