Phillies

Phillies

Phillies

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 07: Bryce Harper #3 and Kody Clemens #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies react after a grand slam home run by Harper during the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park on May 07, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After multiple years of slow starts for the Phillies, we kind of forgot what it was like to have fun watching baseball in May and April. In 2023 and 2022, the Phillies were kind of miserable at this time of the year. The pitching was ok, but the bats always started the year ice cold.

That is not a problem they have this year. They aren’t only the best team in their division, they are currently the best team in the entire MLB. They scuffled a bit out of the gate, but after looking so-so in their first 3 series, it has been nothing but wins since.

The Phillies Are Streaking Ahead

They currently sit at 26-11. 1.5 games ahead of the next-best team, the Dodgers. They are 3 games ahead of their rival Braves. They have played 6 more games than the Braves, but are 5-1 in those extra games.

Meanwhile, the Braves are having their own problems early on. They lost their Ace for the season and their best hitters, Ronald Acuna and Matt Olson, are off to the worst starts of their careers.

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Can The Phillies Sustain This?

Obviously, nothing is won in April or May. The Braves looked like the Phillies in each of the past two years. And then those Phillies teams that looked mediocre in April and May beat them.

If the Phillies get 104 wins, but then lose in the first round like the Braves did, no one is going to care how great they were in April or May.

So can they sustain this into August, September, and more importantly, October? Will this team be playing this great when the games start to count? Should we be worried about the quality of their opponents? And just how special is this starting rotation?

Here Are 4 Numbers That Show This Phillies Team Could Be The Real Deal:

  • 33

    The thing that makes me the most confident in this team is the starting rotation. We have seen in the last two Octobers that starting pitching is maybe the most important thing. It is why we saw both the Braves and the Dodgers crater in the first round. They just did not have the arms, or the depth, to survive a 5 game series.

    What separates the Phillies, is they do have that. we have already seen their starting pitching dominate in the playoffs. Zack Wheeler and Ranger Suarez are statistically two of the best playoff pitchers in recent history. But their rotation is even better this year. not just the top guys, but the depth at the backend.

    In 37 starts, their starters have given up 3 runs or fewer 33 times. They have gone at least 6 innings deep in 21 of those starts. They aren’t just pitching well, they are going deep into games.

    That plays in October. And most of these guys have the playoff track record to back it up.

    John Clark on Twitter: "Zack Wheeler's 1.64 ERA is the best in the National League now 🔥🔥 Zack's ERA is the lowest by any Phillies starter through his first 8 starts of a season since Roy Halladay's 1.59 ERA in his first 8 starts 14 years ago. The last Phillies pitcher to have at least 3 games with... pic.twitter.com/CrXcRlcOYs / Twitter"

    Zack Wheeler's 1.64 ERA is the best in the National League now 🔥🔥 Zack's ERA is the lowest by any Phillies starter through his first 8 starts of a season since Roy Halladay's 1.59 ERA in his first 8 starts 14 years ago. The last Phillies pitcher to have at least 3 games with...

  • +67

    The Phillies aren’t just beating teams, they are demolishing them. 18-3 over the last 21 games is great. What makes it even better is they are +67 in that time. They are winning these games by over 3 runs per game. Has some of their competition been weak? Sure, but you can’t control who you play. You can only control how you play against the teams on your schedule. They are taking this “easy” part of their schedule, and taking full advantage of it.

    We saw past Phillies teams fail to do that. Which is why they were always out of the Division Race by the All-Star Break. This year it is a different team, and they are smoking every team in their way.

    MLB Stats on Twitter: "The @Phillies have outscored their opponents 130 to 63 in that stretch. https://t.co/ULHnS8KKvX / Twitter"

    The @Phillies have outscored their opponents 130 to 63 in that stretch. https://t.co/ULHnS8KKvX

  • 2.60

    The Phillies bullpen ERA is near the bottom of the league at 4.66. Obviously not ideal, but a few pitchers, who are no longer on the roster, are really dragging them down. If you take Luiz Ortiz, Nick Nelson, Ricardo Pinto, and Connor Brogdon out of that, and only count the guys still contributing right now, or who could feasibly contribute this season, the bullpen ERA drops to 3.24.

    If you take that a step further and take away the awful first game of the season, it drops to 2.60. That may sound like a lot of variables. But to put it in simple terms, this bullpen has a 2.6 ERA since the second game of the season. That would put them in the top 3.

    Jose Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, Matt Straham, Gregory Soto, and Orion Kerekering, have for the most part, been very good. Yunior Marte was great before he went on the IL. And even Seranthony Dominguez is coming around.

    Despite the not-so-great start, this is a very good bullpen.

    Dylan MacKinnon on Twitter: "Take away the first game of the season, and take away all the guys like Connor Brogdon and Ricardo Pinto who aren't on the team anymore, and this bullpen has an ERA of 2.6.The bullpen is great, it just had a slow start. / Twitter"

    Take away the first game of the season, and take away all the guys like Connor Brogdon and Ricardo Pinto who aren't on the team anymore, and this bullpen has an ERA of 2.6.The bullpen is great, it just had a slow start.

  • 1.44

    This is a more recent, and much more specific number, but before facing the Phillies, Jose Berrios had an ERA of 1.44. The best ERA in the MLB. The Phillies pushed that to 2.85. No team had scored more than 1 run against him all season. The Phillies dropped 8 on him, including a Bryce Harper grand slam.

    It flies in the face of the narrative they only beat up on bad teams or players. Yes, the Blue Jays aren’t a great team. But they were 4-2 in Berrios starts.

    They did a similar thing to Logan Webb recently. He went into his start against the Phillies with an ERA of 2.98. They scored 4 runs against him in 4 innings to push that to 3.5.

    Dylan Cease had an ERA of 1.82 going into his start against the Phillies. They scored 5 on him in 6 innings to lift it to 2.78. Cease had given up only 7 runs in his other 6 starts. Nick Lodolo had an ERA of 0.75 when he faced the Phillies. They scored 3 runs on him in 5 innings to push it to 2.12.

    They have faced some good pitchers, even if they haven’t faced great teams. They still hit against those good pitchers.

Sign me up for the 97.5 The Fanatic email newsletter!

Become a Fanatic MVP to get the latest info on the Philly Sports landscape, plus access to exclusive content and member-only contests.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.