It has been a rollercoaster start to the 2022 MLB Season for the Philadelphia Phillies. There have been some ups, but there have certainly also been some downs. Prior to the West Coast road trip the Phils just completed, they held a record of 12-16 and had just come off of one of the most disheartening regular season losses in franchise history. There were questions about Joe Girardi’s job security as manager, numerous players’ abilities to contribute, and even about the potential of the team as a whole. Well, prior to the road trip Girardi mused that maybe some time away from home would be good for them. He had no idea how right he would end up being by the time they returned back to Philly. The Phils won both series out West, first taking 2 of 3 from the Seattle Mariners and then shocking the incredibly talented Los Angeles Dodgers by taking 3 of 4 in LA, nearly completing the 4 game sweep. It’s a small sample size, but for the first time this year, this Phillies team is showing glimpses of the team we thought they could be coming into this season.
First of all, the offense has clearly become the calling card of this team, just like we all imagined it would. They are now firmly entrenched as one of the best offensive teams in baseball, with some amazing stats to back it up. Just check out this tweet below from NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Corey Seidman:
Phillies have scored 21 runs on 27 hits the last two nights at Dodger Stadium.
They lead MLB in extra-base hits, rank 2nd in batting average, 2nd in slugging percentage, 2nd in OPS, 3rd in stolen bases.
— Corey Seidman (@CSeidmanNBCS) May 14, 2022
First in extra base hits, 2nd in average, 2nd in slugging, 2nd in OPS, 3rd in stolen bags??? That is unreal offensive production compared to the rest of Major League Baseball. The Phillies are tearing the cover off the ball right now, and they did so out on the West Coast against a team with one of the top 2 starting rotations in baseball (and possibly the best, depending on where you rank the Mets). They truly have become a team that opposing pitchers should fear facing.
When the Phillies signed Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber this offseason, the expectation was not just a good offense, though. Those moves also came with the thought that it would be enough to push this team to playoff contention for the first time since 2011. The offense has come along, but there’s still a ways to go before this team cements themselves as contenders. After this series with the Dodgers, though, it’s not hard to imagine them doing that. Each of the wins in LA against the Dodgers came with stressful moments, and the Phillies had to fight for all 3 of their wins. That’s the type of environment that teams that make the playoffs have to win in to get there, and the Fightins just proved that they won’t shy away from those moments. Will they be successful? It’s still far too early to tell, but from where we were a week ago with this team, it’s nice to see the Phillies starting to transform into the team we thought they could be.