Phillies 2018 Record: 41-33
2nd Place in NL East, 1.5 games back of 1st place Braves
7-3 in their last 10 games
Who would have thought after a 12-3 loss to the Brewers on June 9, having lost their fourth straight and having been outscored by a total of 24-7 in their last two, that the Phillies were going to win their next four series in a row against quality opponents like the Rockies, Brewers, Cardinals, and Nats? The Phillies are winners of 9 of their last 12 games with a chance to sweep the Nats on the road before welcoming the best team in baseball, the New York Yankees, for a three game series. Things are certainly looking up in Philly.
You won't find the name of Rhys Hoskins anywhere on the leader board for the first time this season. And that's...OK? Hoskins is not off the board because of poor play on his part - he is hitting .345 in his last 7 games with 2 homers, 5 RBI, and a 1.112 OPS. The reason is that Herrera and Santana have just been that good.
Let's start with Odubel Herrera, who was beyond on fire before taking an 0-for-4 collar yesterday and ending his streak of 5 straight homers. In his last 7 games, he is hitting .419 with 5 homers, 8 RBI, 10 runs scored, and OPS of...wait for it...1.406. He took his average from .283 to .308 in a span of five games. Man.
But while Herrera is getting all of the attention, let's focus on another player who is quietly doing major damage. In his last 7 games, Carlos Santana has 3 homers, 8 RBI, 9 runs scored, and 4 strikeouts compared to 10 walks. He is batting .304 with an obscene .500 on base percentage and a 1.196 OPS.
It's hard to believe anyone would consider Santana as having a good year with a .229 batting average, but it's the truth. He shares the team lead in homers (13) and leads the team in RBI (46) and extra-base hits (29). He's been productive, and despite a low batting average, he is third on the team in OBP (.358) thanks to a team-leading 54 walks.
Santana has been exactly what the Phillies wanted when they signed him to a $60 million contract. They loved his patience at the plate and his on-base skills, and he has not disappointed: he has 54 walks on the season compared to 42 walks, which is just bonkers.
What do you have to say, Twitter?
Carlos Santana's walk to strikeout rate of 1.29 is tops in all of baseball and he is one of only five players with a positive rate.— Scott Butler (@PhilsBball) June 24, 2018
But wait, there's more.
In his last 7 games, Carlos Santana has 3 homers, 8 RBI, 9 runs scored, and 4 strikeouts compared to 10 walks. He is batting .304 with an obscene .500 on base percentage and 1.196 OPS.— Scott Butler (@PhilsBball) June 24, 2018
It doesn't end there, either.
His 54 walks are fourth in all of baseball, he is 14th in pitches seen, and 22nd in pitches per plate appearance.
As much as I am talking him up, this is pretty much a typical season for Santana if you look at his career numbers. His average is 19 points below his career mark, but everything else is really close across the board.
On the run prevention side (gotta love the analytics nerd that came up with that term), there is one name and one name only for the starting pitching leaders. You know who it is and I don't see that changing for the rest of the season. It's almost hard to believe now, but there were serious questions about his viability as a starter one year ago. If you want a good idea of just how far that unnamed pitcher has come in a year, read this article from Cory Seidman.
That's enough outta me. Time for the leader board after game number 74!
Phillies Current Team Hitting Leaders (minimum 60 at-bats)
Average: Herrera (.304)
OBP: Hernandez (.376)
SLG: Herrera (.500)
OPS: Herrera (.857)
HR: Herrera/Santana (13)
RBI: Santana (46)
Runs: Hernandez (53)
Extra-base hits: Santana (29)
BB: Santana (54)
SO: Alfaro (76)
SB: Hernandez (11)
Phillies Current Team Starting Pitching Leaders (minimum 6 starts)
ERA: Nola (2.58)
IP: Nola (101.1)
Wins: Nola (9)
WHIP: Nola (1.02)
Strikeouts: Nola (99)
Phillies Current Team Bullpen Leaders (minimum 9 appearances)
ERA: Ramos (0.64)
IP: Ramos (28.1)
WHIP: Dominguez (0.56)
Strikeouts: Neris (35)
Games: Ramos/Garcia (32)
Saves: Neris (10)
Holds: Hunter (12)