SECOND PLACE IN THE NL EAST
The Philadelphia Phillies are 9-5 this season and have won their last six games. This is a huge thing for Phillies fans everywhere. After starting the season (1-4), to go (8-1) in their next nine games is a step in the right direction. This 6 game winning streak has put the Phillies in second place in the NL East division.
The Phillies are 9-5. Kapler haters still hating?
— James Seltzer (@JamesSeltzer) April 15, 2018
Current 6 GAME WINNING STREAK
During this six-game winning streak, the Phillies have scored a bunch of runs. They have done some things exceptionally well, but there have been some head-scratching moments as well. The biggest thing during this winning streak has to be the play of J.P. Crawford. Crawford was ICE COLD to start the season and had a stretch where he was 1 for his last 25. However, he was able to turn it around, in his last four games and is batting .385 with 2 doubles and 2 home runs.
This came at a great time because Rhys Hoskins is starting to cool down. In his last 6 games (during the winning streak), he is batting just .167 with 1 home run and 4 RBIs. This is cooling down from his blistering start where he was batting in the high three .300s.
The Phillies would not have won six games in a row without Scott Kingery. That is just a fact. He is batting .308 with 2 home runs, 4 doubles, and a team-leading 11 RBIs during the winning streak. Those two home runs were the first two of his big league career. He hit a solo shot against the Cincinnati Reds, and then followed that up with his first career grand-slam the next night.
The Phillies played Miami, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay for nine games. They won eight. They outscored them by 40 runs in those nine games.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 15, 2018
THE STARTING ROTATION
The starting rotation had been criticized for much of this offseason. That was before the addition of Jake Arrieta. Now, with the addition of Arrieta, the rotation is Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, and Jake Arrieta. During this 6 game winning streak, every pitcher except for Lively went at least six innings. When you put that together with the starters ERAs, it makes for a great combination. Since the Phillies last lost, Nola has a 1.13 ERA, Velasquez has a 1.35 ERA, Pivetta has a 2.57 ERA, Arrieta has a 2.70 ERA, and Lively has a 7.45 ERA. If you throw out Lively’s ERA, Jake Arrieta would have the Phillies highest earned run average for the starting rotation. That is crazy to think about, especially because of all the question marks surrounding this rotation.
Phillies ranks across MLB heading into play today:
Run differential: 6th
Runs scored: 5th
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) April 16, 2018
NUMBERS ARE GREAT, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE EYE TEST
If you are like me, you love to look at the numbers. Statistics tell a story about a player or a situation. The problem with numbers is that you can make them tell the story a certain way. What I mean is the fact that you can paint a picture however you want to with statistics. That is where the eye test comes in handy. Now, you don’t have to be a professional scout to know if the Phillies are playing well. Are the pitchers working ahead in the count? Are the hitters getting hits? Or at least having good at-bats. How is the defense looking?
These are all questions that can be asked when watching a team play. Trust your gut and answer them how you see fit. To me, this team looks like it is clicking on all cylinders. They are hitting the ball well, playing great defense, and pitching like it’s the best rotation in the league. Now I don’t want to get carried away here. The Phillies are just 14 games into the season, but I like what I am seeing.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR AS THE SEASON CONTINUES
The Phillies are set to square up against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta for a three-game series starting tonight. This is an important division series for the Phillies. It will give them a chance to gain some more ground in the NL East. There are a few things that you should look for in the upcoming games. First, are the starting pitchers commanding the zone? Second, look for Crawford and Hoskins to stay hot. Finally, look to see how the body language is from the bullpen. They have not had much work to do in this 6 game winning streak. It will be interesting to see how they pitch when they are called on.
I don’t think the Phillies are going to win the rest of their games this season, let’s just be real. However, I do think that they will win two out of three against the Braves. That would put them at 10-2 in their last 12 games. Something like that would be fantastic for the Phillies and fans everywhere.
Statistics in this article are from mlb.com
Featured Image from hogophotoNY via Flickr