Recent Phillies win streak ensured a competitive summer

by Marc Narducci | Jun 13, 2022
Recent Phillies win streak ensured a competitive summer

Admit it, the first 50 games of the Phillies season didn’t have fans clamoring for a summer (and fall) of meaningful baseball in the Delaware Valley.

The Phillies were 21-29 after the first 50 games. They were 12.5 games behind the first-place New York Mets in the National League East and seven games out of the final wild-card spot.

Then came a nine-game winning streak that put the Phillies back in the picture, although there is still plenty of work to do.

Even after Sunday’s 13-1 loss to Arizona that snapped the Phillies’ nine-game win streak, their outlook was considerably brighter. 

They were still 9.0 games behind the Mets but just 3.5 out of the final wild-card spot.

What is even more encouraging is that the Phillies, who are billed as one of the top offensive teams in the National League (if not all of baseball) still haven’t hit up to their standards.

If one could look at things objectively, after 60 games, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, right-fielder Nick Castellanos and catcher J.T. Realmuto have hit well below expectations.

Kyle Schwarber has been a difficult player to evaluate, but he could be more consistent. He began the week with an .803 OPS, but was batting just .208 and had an on-base percentage of .327, not ideal for a leadoff hitter.

Yet Schwarber did have 16 home runs, but also 76 strikeouts.

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So while has been inconsistent, at least has been produced there. He just isn’t the ideal leadoff hitter.

Alec Bohm, after a strong start, has looked lost at the plate. We’re not sure there were high expectations for him after a difficult second season, but any everyday third baseman with little power and a low on-base percentage (.289 to begin the week) isn’t sustainable.

Quite frankly, Bryce Harper has carried the offense and is enjoying an even better year than his MVP season of 2021.

So while the Phillies unveiled a strong offense during the win streak, overall, so many players can do better and have track records of producing more.

If that happens, then the Phillies will be in the race for a postseason spot.
As for the starting pitching, it has been solid, especially with No. 1 starter Zack Wheeler and what looks like a rejuvenated Aaron Nola (0.88 WHIP to begin the week) at No. 2.

Zach Eflin has had bouts of inconsistency but has proven to be a more than capable No. 3 starter.

Kyle Gibson and Ranger Suarez have yet to prove they are dependable in the final two rotation slots.

If the Phillies are to contend, they will both have to elevate their game.
The bullpen has not been as bad as last year, but still has plenty of holes.
Seranthony Dominguez has by far been the best reliever, but all the others have not provided the consistency needed.

One has to think that the president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will look for relief help by the Aug. 2 trading deadline.

With the inconsistency of both the offense and pitching, the Phillies still face a difficult task in earning one of the three wild card spots or somehow supplanting the Mets (or surging Atlanta Braves) in the N.L. East.

Still, without the nine-game win streak, we might have already started looking at next year.

Author: Marc Narducci


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