Phillies 2018 Record: 37-32
3rd Place in NL East, 4 games back of 1st place Braves, .5 games back of 2nd place Nats
5-5 in their last 10 games
The Phillies won their second straight series after going without one since the beating the Braves in late May. The last game featured a rare clunker from Nola and another horror show by Neris, but they launched 3 homers and showed that maybe this offense is finally starting to return to life. Let's hope they can continue the trend against a Cardinals team with the exact same record and place in the standings.
We found Odubel! After a horrid stretch which dropped his batting average 78 points from .361 on May 17 to .283 on June 12, Odubel Herrera might have found his groove again. He is 7-for-14 with two homers in his last four games, raising his average to .291.
The same is true for Rhys Hoskins, who saw his average drop an astounding 113 points from .346 on April 27 to .233 on May 29. Since returning from the DL on June 9, he is 10-for-30 (.333) in 8 games with 4 homers, 11 RBI, and an even 1.200 OPS.
On the downside is Cesar Hernandez, who has been stagnant for well over a month. He batted .255 in May and is hitting .237 so far in June. He had 21 walks and 23 strikeouts through April, and since then has nearly double the amount of strikeouts as walks (22 walks and 43 strikeouts). That is particularly alarming for a player with his speed who needs to put balls in play. His .386 OBP is nice, but a .261 batting average is not cutting it at the leadoff spot.
The Phillies have relied on their starting pitching all season, particularly Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. That was not the case in their last two outings. The two combined for 14 hits, 6 walks, and 12 runs (8 earned), with just 5 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings in their last starts. Luckily, the offense was able to return the favor in Nola's start to somehow steal one win out of those two contests.
Unfortunately for the relievers, it has been more than just one bad outing. Hector Neris, who started the season as the closer, is dangerously close to a return to Lehigh Valley. After failing to lock down a 4-run lead yesterday, his ERA is an even 6.00 (yes, that a six!) on the season. A bullpen that seemed to be a strength of this ball game has been anything but that lately. Look at these ERA's on the season:
The Fightins' have played 29 games in a grueling 41 game stretch of games. 5 of the 8 series and 20 of 29 games so far have been against winning teams, with two of the losing teams just under .500: Giants (35-37) and Rockies (34-37). They are 13-16 in those games, so they are just hanging in there.
But the hardest stretch might still lie in front of them. They have a series with the Cardinals (37-32), the Yankees and the best record in baseball (46-21), and two series with the Nats (37-31) - all but one of the series will be played at CBP if that helps any.
Time for the leader board after game number 69!
Phillies Current Team Hitting Leaders (minimum 60 at-bats)
Average: Herrera (.291)
OBP: Hoskins (.368)
SLG: Hoskins (.471)
OPS: Hoskins (.839)
HR: Hoskins/Santana (10)
RBI: Hoskins (39)
Runs: Hernandez (47)
Extra-base hits: Hoskins/Santana (26)
BB: Santana (49)
SO: Alfaro (73)
SB: Hernandez (10)
Phillies Current Team Starting Pitching Leaders (minimum 6 starts)
ERA: Nola (2.55)
IP: Nola (95.1)
Wins: Nola (8)
WHIP: Nola (1.01)
Strikeouts: Nola (94)
Phillies Current Team Bullpen Leaders (minimum 9 appearances)
ERA: Ramos (0.69)
IP: Neris (27.0)
WHIP: Dominguez (0.56)
Strikeouts: Neris (35)
Games: Garcia (32)
Saves: Neris (10)
Holds: Hunter (11)