Things started off…let’s say, differently…than most expected for the Phightins’. While many likely expected no better than their 2-4 start, most probably didn’t expect it to go the way it did. If not for a new (read: not so good) look bullpen, the Phils current record could have been reversed after coughing away the first 2 games late.
W L PCT GB STRK L10
Washington Nationals 3 1 .750 – W1 3-1
New York Mets 2 3 .400 1.5 L2 2-3
Philadelphia Phillies 2 4 .333 2 W2 2-4
Miami Marlins 1 3 .250 2 L1 1-3
Atlanta Braves 0 5 .000 3.5 L5 0-5
The bats have not exactly come alive and already we’ve seen 2 instances of major league ballplayers who don’t know how to run the bases. While Ryan Howard has 2 homers in the early going, he’s also striking out at a very Howard-esque rate (6 in 17 AB’s). Carlos Ruiz already has a bomb as well which took him until June to do last year. Maikel Franco is starting off well and Cesar Hernandez is batting .421 (too bad he’s a bonehead on the base paths). To even compete, the Phils are going to need to be able to score runs. With a number of players who are (for right or wrong) everyday players batting below .200, that’s not going to get things done.
Jeremy Hellickson, Aaron Nola and Vincent Velasquez have looked good in their respective starts recording Quality Starts in their first outing and Hellickson came up 1 out short of his second on Sunday. Jeanmar Gomez looks to have already stolen the closer position from the original frontrunner, David Hernandez, and Hector Neris is showing signs of being the setup man. The good start from most of the staff is going to be needed if the offense continues to struggle scoring runs.
It’s still early and both the offense and defense could still go either way over the course of the summer but at least for now, we’ve seen signs.
Around the N.L. East
Nationals– After sweeping a 2 game set with the Braves, the Nats split 2 with the Marlins while a 3rd game was rained out. They haven’t looked particularly dominant and unfortunately, Jonathan Papelbon seems to have returned to form, with 3 saves but expect that we’ll see these guys sitting atop the standings for the majority of, if not the entire season. Daniel Murphy has picked up where he left off in the postseason and Bryce Harper is still a stud.
Mets– They lost 2 of 3 to the Phils. Enough said? Matt Harvey is 0-2 which can’t bode well as the Mets will be relying heavily on him and the rest of the rotation. They have scored just 14 runs through 5 games, 7 of them in their series opener with the Phils. That average won’t hold up for long no matter how good your pitching is.
Marlins– The Marlins offense has produced but they have conceded 23 runs through their first 4 games. Dee Gordon has picked up where he left off and Giancarlo Stanton is getting back into the groove after missing most of last year. Even if the offense can keep up the pace, they need the pitching staff to help out.
Braves– When you give up 38 runs through your first 5 games (all losses), things likely aren’t going to go well over the course of 162. The Braves may just be the team that are looking up to the Phils most of the season.
The Phils open their home slate with a full week. They open with 4 against the Padres, followed by 3 against the Nats. San Diego may give a few chances for more wins but the Nats series will show just how far the Phils have to go as they rebuild from the ground up.