It was more of the same this week as the Phils had yet another productive week, going 4-2 with 3 more 1-run victories. A month and a half in it seems like it’s one of two results each night. Either the Phils squeak one out or they get beat up. Somehow, this team has managed to stay 6 games over .500 and moved into 2nd place in the East, just one game back and they’ve done it while being outscored by 30 runs. taking 2 of 3 from the Braves and Reds is not a rousing endorsement but it shows that they can beat the teams they need to in order to stay in the hunt.
Miraculously, the Phils scratched out 4 runs 3 times this week. The Phils tried to inject a little offense by bringing up Tommy Joseph but after an 0-2 (1 BB) performance on Friday night, he stayed on the bench the remainder of the weekend. With Ryan Howard continuing to hit a random bomb here and there but producing virtually nothing else, it’s probably the time to give Joseph a consistent look at first base. Right or wrong, Darin Ruf never got the chance. It’s time to try and inject some new life into the offense beyond Odubel Herrera.
Aaron Nola and Jeremy Hellickson put a few more quality starts together as did Vince Velasquez. Meanwhile Jeanmar Gomez continues to surprise finding ways to shut down the opponents night after night. His 14 saves (nearly all of which had no margin for error) leads the majors and day by day he makes the Ken Giles trade look like a stroke of genius.
Around the N. L. East
Nationals– The Nationals took 2 of 3 from the Tigers before splitting a four game set with the Marlins. After losing the final 2 against the Marlins, the Nats had regained first place after losing that spot to the Mets last week but they hold just a one game lead over the Phils. After a week of home cooking , they now go on the road for 6 with the Mets and Marlins. This could be an interesting week which could result in another lead change if they don’t play to the level that most expected.
Mets– The Mets struggled on the west coast. After winning 2 of their first 3 against the Dodgers, they lost the series finale before being swept by the Rockies. After the high of taking over first, the Mets found themselves dropping to 3rd place and looking up at the Phils and Nationals. The Mets will need to play up to a high level against the Nationals at home this week if they want to hang around in the early going. They’ll get a slightly less daunting task in the Brewers towards the end of the week.
Marlins– They may be in 4th place currently but the Marlins sit just 2.5 out of first. They took 2 of 3 from the Brewers and as mentioned before took the last 2 of a 4 game set from the nationals. Giancarlo Stanton continues to mash the ball and Jose Fernandez continues to mow down batters having won his last 4 starts. With 3 games at Citizens Bank Park and 3 at home with the Nats, there could be a major shift in the standings next week.
Braves– Hey…they had a 2 win week. And it was almost 3! But, they are still 13 games out and doing their due diligence on the 2017 top draft prospects nonetheless. they will go on the road for a tour through Pennsylvania with 4 against the Pirates and 3 against the Phils this week.
With the Marlins and Braves coming into Citizens Bank Park this week, the Phils could very well find themselves in first place come next if things go well. a strong week against 2 “lesser” teams could go a long way towards making Matt Klentak’s job a little more interesting. the further they go into the season and continue to hold their ground, the more likely they start looking for some options to buy rather than just being sellers.