Phillies

Phillies

Phillies

It took 4 months, but the Phillies are finally putting it all together. This August has rallied the city back behind the Phillies. Citizens Bank Park feels like it is October, with a packed house of crazy fans there every night. And the team is rewarding those fans with quite the show. Already, with one more 3-game series left to go in August, the Phillies have set a record for most HRs over the course of a month in franchise history. The 3 they hit on Saturday, and the 1 yesterday, brings them up to 49 for the month.

That is a breath of fresh air after there not being much power, or run-scoring in general, the first 4 months. They entered August with just 113 homers. About 28 a month. It was pretty much just Kyle Schwarber carrying them in the power category. And that power surge has them scoring a lot more runs. They have already scored 150 runs this month, after averaging just 118 runs per month coming into August. It has them up to 5th in the National League and 11th in the MLB.

They are 15-9 in August. A winning percentage of .625. Only the Braves have a winning percentage better than that this season. And now the bats are finally doing their part after being carried by the pitching staff for most of the season. Everything is clicking at the right time as they try to lock down the 1st Wild Card spot, which they currently lead by 3 games. They arent making up any ground in the Division with the Braves continuing to dominate every night, but they are in a great spot to win the WildCard.

But what are the most important things we have seen from them in August? Who has really turned it on this past month?

Here are 7 big takeaways from the Phillies hot August:

 

 

  • Bryce Harpers Power is Back

    Harper had been getting hits for most of the season. The problem was the balls were not leaving the ballpark. After being one of the more consistent sources of power for the Phillies since arriving here, it just was not there for him over the first 4 months. And given he had off-season Tommy John Surgery, you could forgive him for that. But even with him having a good excuse, the Phillies were still missing his power. Well, they are not missing it anymore.

    Harper has already hit 7 HRs, 7 Doubles, and a triple in the month of August. Good for a slugging percentage of .721. His OPS going into the All-Star Break was just .786, and in this month he almost matches that with just his slugging percentage. His OPS in August is 1.116. But more than him just hitting well, it feels like every hit is clutch. Including that 3-run HR that tied the game, even if the Phillies went on to lose the game.

    He has found his MVP form. And of all the things that have gone well for them, in August, this is the most important.

  • Kyle Schwarber Is Above the Mendoza Line

    Schwarber will never be a high-average guy. But even for him, his batting average was bad coming into August. He had been floating around .180 all year. Usually, his walks are enough to make up for a bad average. But even with all the walks, his OBP was floating around .330. The power was there all year. But it was hard to stomach an average below the Mendoza Line.

    August he is back to normal though. Is a .222 batting average something to celebrate? Not necessarily. But his OBP in August is .396, which would be 8th in the league. And that has his OPS just under 1.000 at .989. Phillies fans still won’t be happy with him leading off. But if he is getting on base almost 40% of the time, you can stomach it.

    Schwarber is likely going to become the first Phillies player since Ryan Howard to have back-to-back 40 HR seasons. His homer on Sunday was number 36.

  • Trea Turner Looking Like the Guy We Thought We Were Getting

    Trea Turner was having a rough debut season in Red Pin Stripes. He was hitting under .236 and was a mess at times in the field. The speed was still there because speed doesn’t slump. But in every other aspect of his game, he was struggling. Then the Phillies gave him a standing ovation.

    Since then, he has been the guy we all figured we were getting. In August his slash line is .302/.340.542/.881. Those numbers are even better if you go from after he got the Standing Ovation. Since that game, his OPS is 1.038. Oddly, the steals have fallen off, with just two in the month. But everything else is working. That includes 5 HRS, 17 RBIs, and 29 hits in 24 games. Plus we have not seen him making as many errors in the field since that Standing Ovation.

  • Nick Castellanos Has Bounced Back From His July Slump

    Nick Castellanos had been the Phillies MVP over the first 3 months. He was the lone Phillies hitter to make the All-Star Game. But after that All-Star Game, things got ugly. He looked like 2022 Nick Castellanos again. Swinging at everything, even sliders way outside of the zone. And while he is still swinging at everything in August, now he is hitting what he swings at again. And the ball goes a long way when he does hit it.

    Nick has 8 HRS in 24 games in August so far. A HR every 3rd game. He also has 6 doubles. 14 extra-base hits in just 24 games. It is hard to care about how much he is striking out if he is hitting the ball as hard as he is.

  • Strong Finish By Aaron Nola

    It was not just the bats picking it up in August though, there were also some promising signs from the Pitching Staff. Notably Aaron Nola. The start of August left a lot to be desired. But he finished strong. Over the last two starts, he gave up just 2 runs in 14 innings, including 7 innings, no runs, and just 1 hits vs. the Cardinals on Sunday.

    Those two starts were enough to get his ERa under 4.0 in the month. His 3.68 ERA this past month is the lowest of any month this season since he made it through April with an ERA of 3.58. Every other month his ERA was over 4.0.

    Is it enough to get fully back on board with him? Not yet. But it is a promising sign. We know Nola has the stuff to be great. His problem has always been consistency. He makes one mistake and it all starts to fall apart. He can look great one start, then awful the next. So seeing him string together two straight good starts, is a reason for optimism. Let’s see if he carries it into September.

  • Zack Wheeler Back To Ace Form

    Zach Wheeler has not been himself this season. He has been by no means bad. But we are used to Zack Wheeler being elite during his time in Philly. For most of this year, he has been good, but not quite elite.

    His August ERa though was 3.0 exactly. In two of his last 3 starts, he went 7 innings and allowed just a single run. He got hit around in that middle start, giving up 4 runs in the first. But then he bounced back and pitched 6 scoreless innings to keep the Phillies in it. He also has 44 ks on the month in 33 innings and has pitched at least 6 innings every outing. His ERa is now down at a season-low 3.59.

    Wheeler looks like himself. And that is a very dangerous thing for teams other than the Phillies. His dominance was a big reason why they made it to the World Series last year. And if they can throw Zack Wheeler out there in game 1, the Phillies have to be pretty confident in starting any series with a win.

  • Jose Alvarado and Seranthony Dominguez Are Healthy and Pitching Well

    Last year’s Phillies bullpen was mostly just Jose Alvardo and Seranthony Dominguez. This year the pen is much deeper, but those two have not been as reliable, either due to injuries in Alvarado’s case, or injuries and inconsistency in Dominguez’s case. But now at the end of August both of them are not just healthy, but they are looking more like themselves.

    Alvardo has just 3 appearances since returning. But he has given up just 2 walks, no hits, and no runs in those 3 innings. And he has struck out 6 of the 11 hitters he faced. Dominguez meanwhile has pitched 7.2 innings. While he has had a slight walk problem, 6 bso far in the month, he has given up just a single run. He has 2 saves, 2 holds, and a win over those 9 appearances.

    Craig Kimbrel and Gregory Soto hit a tiny snag in August. Likely due to fatigue from being used so much. But having Alvarado and Dominguez back should help there. And having Andrew Bellatti, Jeff Hoffman, and Matt Strahm also pitching well out of the pen, the Phillies should be set to have a very dangerous bullpen

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