Phillies

Phillies

Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies linger behind the powers of the American League for the best record in baseball.

Despite their ability to maintain a substantial NL East lead, the All-Star Break is approaching at the right time for a lineup depleted by injuries.

When the MLB schedule came out, early July looked like it’d be the midseason measuring stick. However, should the Phillies really draw any playoff preview takeaways during their upcoming series against the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Phillies vs. Miami Marlins

  • Thursday 6/27: Loss 7-4
  • Friday 6/28: Win 2-0
  • Saturday 6/29: Loss 3-2
  • Sunday 6/30: Win 7-6

Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs

  • Tuesday 7/2: Win 6-4
  • Wednesday 7/3: Win 5-3
  • Thursday 7/4: Loss 10-2

All stats as of July 4.


 

  • Phillies Loaded With MLB All-Stars

    Three Phillies infielders were selected to start for the National League in the MLB All-Star Game for the first time since 1982. Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm, and Trea Turner received enough votes to make the lineup.

    Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, and Manny Trillo accomplished the feat that Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins (surprisingly) never did. Batting practice at Wrigley Field became an interesting way for the Phillies to campaign for their teammates.

    A photo in a cowboy hat is a good mode of publicity and a way to shout out the Texas Rangers as the hosts of the midsummer classic.

    Rob Thomson lightheartedly showed his support without any cowboy hat references.

    “They pull for each other. I’d wear a shirt too, but I’d have to have all the players on my chest. I can’t show favoritism.” -Rob Thomson

    Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, Cristopher Sanchez, and Jeff Hoffman are some of the likeliest to earn bids among a crowded group of Phillies candidates. The NL will decide its full roster on Sunday, July 7.

    Harper hasn’t played since suffering a hamstring injury on June 27. There’s no official word about his status.

    The MLB All-Star Game will take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington on July 16.

  • National League Playoff Previews?

    A road series against the Braves will showcase one of the best modern MLB rivalries. A home series against the Dodgers gives Philadelphia fans a chance to see the best player in the world in a possible playoff preview. 

    However, neither series is likely to provide the takeaways fans might’ve expected when they saw the 2024 schedule.

    The Phillies foremostly won’t use a lineup that remotely resembles the one they expect to send to the diamond in Red October, and their competition will similarly look depleted.

    The Milwaukee Brewers actually sit ahead of the Braves for third in the National League behind the Phillies and Dodgers.

    While it’s never a safe bet to dismiss the Braves, the six-time defending NL East champs simply don’t look as threatening as they did entering the past two postseasons.

    Their best pitcher Spencer Strider and their best hitter Ronald Acuna Jr. suffered season-ending injuries. Michael Harris will miss the weekend series with a hamstring injury that’s kept him out since June 14.

    Their record-breaking offense in 2023 has cooled off.

      Runs Per Game Batting Average Home Runs OPS
    Atlanta Braves in 2023 5.75 (1st) .276 (1st) 307 (1st) .845 (1st)
    Atlanta Braves in 2024 4.29 (15th) .243 (16th) 91 (14th) .709 (13th)

    The NL West frontrunners aren’t at full strength either. Mookie Betts stormed out of the gates in 2024 and established his candidacy for NL MVP.

    He took a pitch off the hand on June 16 to keep him out six-eight weeks. Yoshinobu Yamamoto will also miss the Phillies series.

    Any series that features Shohei Ohtani is must-see tv, regardless. The revolutionary dual threat ranks second in the majors in home runs (27) and OPS (1.043) trailing only Aaron Judge in both categories.

    He’s gone six career games at Citizens Bank Park without a home run.

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning at Coors Field on June 20, 2024 in Denver, Colorado.

    Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

  • Injury Updates

    The injuries looked dooming after a bad loss to the Marlins on June 27. Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper both left the game for eventual IL stints.

    However, Rob Thomson’s news of an estimated 10-14 day absence for both players settled the panic.

    Harper (hamstring) and Schwarber (groin) already have their competitive juices flowing in anticipation for a return. J.T. Realmuto has also participated in baseball activities after a meniscectomy surgery on his right knee on June 12.

    Colin Newby on X (formerly Twitter): "Rob Thomson gave some updates on Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber that were - all things considered - not so bad for the #Phillies pic.twitter.com/YDx7lQhC9c / X"

    Rob Thomson gave some updates on Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber that were - all things considered - not so bad for the #Phillies pic.twitter.com/YDx7lQhC9c

    Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that all three sluggers have made notable progress. The first game after the All-Star Break on July 19 seems like a practical return date. However, the Phillies will use a case-to-case basis for each player.

    “If any or all three of those guys are feeling healthy enough to return before the All-Star Break, the Phillies aren’t going to hold them out. They’ll return once they’re feeling ready to go.” –Corey Seidman

    The Phillies have held their own with a 4-2 record since losing two more key starters. Thomson spoke proudly about their ability to maintain, but the order could certainly use some reinforcements.

    “I’m very confident. I am. This is a resilient group. We’ve got two really good players coming back up (Johan Rojas, Kody Clemens). We’ve got the bulk of our club still here. It just seems that when guys go down (on) this club, people step up. People contribute. People answer the bell, so I expect the same thing to happen.” -Rob Thomson

    Jayson Stark doesn’t look at Taijuan Walker’s timeline as optimistically.

    “I know Taijuan went on the injured list with the blister, but let me just say this. I don’t see him coming back until both the blister heals and his splitter heals.” -Jayson Stark on The Best Show Ever

  • Phillies Spotlight Player: Nick Castellanos

    The 2023 NLCS didn’t end the way Nick Castellanos wanted. The 2024 regular season didn’t start the way he wanted. The veteran slugger limped out of the gates. He looked like one of the only weaknesses of a team rolling on all cylinders otherwise.

    It might be the cliche about reaching the back of the baseball card. It might be his son Liam hanging around Citizens Bank Park. Whatever it is, Castellanos has steadily advanced back towards the expectations the Phillies had for him entering the season.

    He hit a solo home run and a double in the series finale at Wrigley Field capped off one of his best weeks of the season. He’s raised his season average to a more respectable .236 and his OPS to .690.

    Nick Castellanos Batting Average Home Runs OPS (MLB Average- .705)
    March/April 2024 .193 2 .521
    May 2024 .229 5 .706
    June 2024 .276 4 .810

    Many Phillies fans fire heavy criticism at the hometown right fielder. Some of it’s deserved for a player with a $100 million contract. However, next time you’re frustrated, remember to consider the big picture.

    Castellanos regularly arrives at the ballpark early to take batting practice before his teammates take the field. His work has helped his steady improvement.

    He doesn’t cover the most ground in the outfield, but he’s also shown improvement defensively during his three seasons in Philadelphia.

    His effort certainly wasn’t lacking when he ran hard into the notoriously rough Wrigley Field ivy to catch a blast off the bat of Cody Bellinger on Monday night. 

    Nick Castellanos #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a walk-off RBI double during the ninth inning to defeat the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park on June 18, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

  • Looking Ahead

    The Phillies will begin their six-game road trip against the top dogs of the National League with a three-game set at Truist Park in Atlanta.

    • Friday 7/5 at 7:20pm: Aaron Nola (9-4, 3.43 ERA) vs. Max Fried (7-3, 2.91 ERA)
    • Saturday 7/6 at 7:15pm: Ranger Suarez (10-2, 2.27 ERA) vs. Spencer Schwellenbach (1-4, 5.68 ERA)
    • Sunday 7/7 at 1:35pm: Michael Mercado (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Reynaldo Lopez (6-2, 1.83 ERA)
  • 97.5 The Fanatic

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