Phillies Offense Needs to Produce for the Playoffs to Become a Reality

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Aug 15, 2018
Phillies Offense Needs to Produce for the Playoffs to Become a Reality
Entering Tuesday, the Phillies had 45 games left and the key is whether they can finish a deal very few thought they had a chance of achieving at the beginning of the season.
This is a team that went 66-96 a year ago, and entered Tuesday’s action already with 65 wins.
Even if the Phillies don’t win the NL East, they could get into the postseason via the wild card route.
In their favor are several factors, with the biggest being a pitching staff that continues to do the job.
Led by Aaron Nola, the staff is both young and impressive. Nola earned his first all-star selection this season and has continued to pitch like an ace. He is 13-3 with a 2.28 ERA.
Jake Arrieta has been a good pickup, although he has been up and down. That said, most would take his numbers (9-7, 3.33). Zach Eflin (8-4, 3.57) has been effective.
The person with some of the best stuff on the staff has been Vince Velasquez, whose numbers look ordinary (8-9, 3.98) but who had a 2.01 ERA in his previous seven starts entering this week.
The bullpen has shown great improvement although closer Seranthony Dominquez has struggled of late.
Still, the pitchers have done their job and there is no reason to suggest it won’t occur over the final 45 games.
The key will be the offense.
At the beginning of the week, the Phillies were 20th in MLB in scoring with 506 runs, an average of 4.3 runs per game.
The team batting average of .235 was 29th, ahead of only the lowly New York Mets. The OPS was 22nd (.709).
The Phillies were a respectable 17th in on base percentage (.317) mainly due to their willingness to take walks.
For instance, first baseball Carlos Santana was hitting just .215 but had a .351 on base percentage because he had drawn 88 walks. Still, as the cleanup hitter for much of the season, a player in that position should have a higher batting average.
Then again, anybody in a MLB lineup should be able to hit higher than .215.
Centerfielder Odubel Herrera is a confounding player. He goes on streaks when he can carry the team and others when it appears he can’t buy a hit. He entered the week hitting .269.
Rhys Hoskins, has hit a recent swoon that dropped his average to .253 entering the week, but he still has contributed 50 extra base hits – 28 doubles and 22 home runs, along with 73 RBI. He also has a .365 on base percentage, but if the Phillies are going to make a positive end of the season push, Hoskins will have to snap out of his recent swoon.
Maikel Franco, seemingly headed for a season on the bench before J.P. Crawford got hurt, has revived his career. He was leading the Phillies with a .279 batting average, while contributing 19 home runs and 53 RBI.
The fact that the leading hitter is batting under .280 shows the Phillies struggles on offense.
Still, despite this, the playoffs remain a viable option, something many felt would be a year away at the earliest.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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