After washing out against Milwaukee last weekend, the Phils had another turnaround week and played well. To cap it off, they took the last 3 games of a 4 game set with the Marlins finishing hte week in a dead heat with the Fish and a game AHEAD of the Rockies in the race for the #1 pick.
With the youth movement nearly complete the offense is showing signs of true potential and depth. Some of the guys who are currently the primary options will (hopefully) fall into support rolls in the next year or two when the top prospects (hopefully) make their way up to the show. For now, guys like Odubel Herrera, Freddy Galvis and Cameron Rupp are making names for themselves. On Sunday alone, Rupp had an important HR and Galvis made a spectacular over the shoulder catch to help Aaron Nola pick up another win. Even in their 2 losses this week, they scored a combined 12 runs. The newest additions, Aaron Altherr and Darnell Sweeney made their presence known. Altherr already has 2 HR’s in his first week and Sweeney (received in the Utley deal) had his first career homer in pinch hit duty his first time out. The Phils have actually scored just 15 fewer runs than the Mets this season. The problem is the fact that opponents have scored the 2nd most runs in the league against them. As we start to see improvements in that area, things could pick up sooner than anticipated.
Speaking of things picking up in the pitching department. This weekend we got to see a glimpse of what may be good things to come. Jerad Eickhoff and Aaron Nola combined for 14 innings of shutout ball on Friday and Sunday respectively. Combined with the bullpen which continues to be solid, things are looking up here as well. As September nears, it’s likely we’ll get to see another young arm or two joining in the fun
Around the N.L. East
Mets– It appears the Mets have decided to take the division and run away with it. In addition, they are rubbing it into the Nats faces by already talking about skipping starts for their rotation to prepare for the playoffs. The Mets had an easy 5 day work week in which they won 4. After splitting with the Orioles and sweeping out the Rockies, the Mets will come into Citizens Bank Park for a 4 game set before going home to take on the Red Sox.
Nationals– The Nats had the advantage of taking on a couple of the NL bottom dwellers. They didn’t take full advantage winning just 4 of 6 and losing another half game to the Mets. Note for haters: Jonathan Papelbon has 3 saves since arriving in Washington. Ken Giles has 10 for the Phils. This week should be another easy one with San Diego and Miami coming to D.C for 3 games each.
Marlins– Things started off well this week before the Phils came to town. It ended with the Fish in a tie with the Phils at the bottom of the division. With a 4 game set against Pittsburgh and 3 with the sinking Nats, this week could go either way.
The week will start off tough for the resurgent Fightin’s. With a 4 game set at CBP with the Mets, the Phils will get a chance to show how far they’ve come or ease their way back into the fight for draft position. Once the Mets leave, the Padres will come to town for a weekend set which, if 2 weeks ago was any indication, should give them a chance to notch a few more wins.
Anyone who thought this team would actually have 50 wins at this point before the All Star break is psychic or on something. But they have been a new team since getting back to work after the break. With just 38 games to go, even a .500 record the rest of the way will have this team far ahead of what was expected.