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97.5 The Fanatic Phillies Notebook: Don’t Cheapen Success

The last two years have been full of heartbreaking experiences in the City of Brotherly. Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies will naturally jump to skepticism about success. The latest criticism is about weak opponents. The Phillies have won or split an astounding 14 consecutive series. Ranger Suarez is lighting the sport on fire. J.T. Realmuto has extended his hit streak to 13 games (and seemingly nobody’s noticed). Alec Bohm is posting astounding offensive stats. Closing out a sweep against the reigning World Series champions didn’t even seem monumental in the big picture of the best start in franchise history. Just enjoy it, Phillies fans. Phillies vs. Washington Nationals Friday 5/17: Win 4-2 Saturday 5/18: Win 4-3 Sunday 5/19: Win 11-5 Phillies vs. Texas Rangers Tuesday 5/21: Win 11-4 Wednesday 5/22: Win 11-4 Thursday 5/23: Win 5-2 The Clutch Gene? Alec Bohm hit some bumps in his player development in a tough 2021 season. He worked out the kinks to become a key contributor to playoff runs in 2022 and 2023, but he’s reached a new level in 2024. The 27-year-old third baseman has crafted his ability to cover the entire plate with his swing and hit to all fields. He’s also developed a stronger pull swing that’s already paid dividends in 2024. He entered the season with a .406 career slugging percentage (MLB Average in 2024: .388). His .519 SLG% this season trails only Bryce Harper for the team lead, and he has a comfortable lead over Aaron Judge for most doubles in the majors. Bohm’s situational hitting has lifted the team in key spots all season. He ranks second in the majors in RBI and seventh with a .407 batting average with runners in scoring position. Modern MLB front offices have drifted away from prioritizing RBI as a way to evaluate players. However, Alec Bohm has shown why the stat isn’t obsolete. Rob Thomson explained why Bohm’s approach makes him a good fit for the cleanup spot. “One, he makes contact. He understands the strike zone. He uses the field. He’s got a flat stroke, so that contributes to his ability to make contact. When guys are out there, he puts the ball in play. When you put the ball in play, good things happen.” -Rob Thomson Alec Bohm2024 Statistics2020-2023 Averages (per 162 games)MLB Rank in 2024Phillies Rank in 2024Doubles2028.771st1stSlugging Percentage.519.40617th2ndRBI4684.92nd1stBatting Average.323.2769th2ndBatting Average with RISP.407.3157th1st MLB Trade Rumors The best team in baseball will only look to get better. Dave Dombrowski kept the roster intact after the 2023 NLCS heartbreaker. The roster construction strategy set the Phillies up well for the MLB Trade Deadline. Let the rumors begin. Jeff Passan spoke on Baseball Tonight about Dombrowski’s interest in acquiring an outfielder with better offense. He mentioned Tommy Pham and Luis Robert Jr. of the last-place Chicago White Sox as potential targets. Luis Robert Jr. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) The Phillies entered the season expecting Johan Rojas to make the bulk of his contributions with his glove instead of his bat. He’s had some shaky games in center field, but they’ll likely depend on him to maintain strong outfield defense with minimal expectations at the plate. Brandon Marsh provides a solid bat, but he isn’t the superstar slugger that many World Series contenders boast in their starting outfield lineups. He’s also at his best with a strong platoon option behind him, and Whit Merrifield hasn’t provided that in his first two months with the Phillies. Nick Castellanos hasn’t brought the right-handed bat to pull the lineup together that the Phillies hoped for when they signed him to a five-year, $100 million contract entering the 2022 season. They’re in a position where they should accept their veteran right fielder's shortcomings and extreme peaks and valleys without depending on him as another slugger in a stacked lineup. The Phillies lead the majors with 5.43 runs per game. They rank second in batting average, sixth in home runs, and third in OPS. Dombrowski has the opportunity to give the outfielders on the roster more at-bats, explore the trade market, and evaluate the other needs on the roster. However, he will recognize that a 37-14 record coming off two deep playoff runs indicates a window of World Series opportunity. Those usually don’t last too long. Injury Updates: Trea Turner, Yunior Marte Rob Thomson spoke optimistically about Trea Turner on Wednesday. However, he hesitated to commit to a timeline for a return ahead of schedule. The Phillies originally expected their star shortstop to return in mid or late June.  Todd Zolecki summarized the logic of caution with the hamstring injury as a guest on 97.5 The Fanatic. “I don’t think Trea (will go out there), and I don’t think the Phillies are going to let him go out there before he is completely healthy. I say that because they’re not playing to make the playoffs this year. They’re playing to win the World Series.” -Todd Zolecki on Philly Sports Tonight The Phillies will face the New York Mets in the MLB London Series on June 8 and 9. Kevin Cooney pointed out that an unfamiliar environment and field conditions in a foreign county aren’t ideal for a player returning from injury. Edmundo Sosa slugged a three-run homer against the Rangers on Wednesday. Kody Clemens is swinging a remarkably hot bat. Trea Turner and the Phillies should proceed with the utmost caution for an especially delicate injury to avoid a nagging issue over the summer months and into the playoffs. Related Content: Chase Utley Talks Phillies, Mets Ahead Of MLB London Series Yunior Marte also threw live batting practice at Citizens Bank Park before Wednesday night’s game. His work pleased his manager. “17 pitches. Located really well. The ball was jumping out of his hands.” -Rob Thomson The hard-throwing right-hander came out of the gates strong in 2024 with a 2.70 ERA in 12 relief appearances. The Phillies placed him on the 15-day IL with right shoulder inflammation on May 3. Marte will likely begin a minor league rehab stint before rejoining the bullpen. Looking Ahead The Phillies will now begin a six-game road trip against the National League West. Expect to see plenty of Phillies fans make the trip to Denver on a holiday weekend to see a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies at beautiful Coors Field. Friday 5/24 at 8:40pm: Cristopher Sanchez (2-3, 3.31 ERA) vs. Ty Blach (0-0, 5.14 ERA) Saturday 5/25 at 9:10pm: Aaron Nola (6-2, 3.05 ERA) vs. Dakota Hudson (1-7, 5.89 ERA) Sunday 5/26 at 3:10pm: Ranger Suarez (9-0, 1.36 ERA) vs. Cal Quantrill (3-3, 3.59 ERA) All stats as of the beginning of play on May 24.

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