What an up and down week that was! After an opening day win where the bats showed some pop, the lineup went mostly silent for the next few days then exploded again. When all was said and done, the Phils are locked in a 4 way tie in the East to start the 2017 season. A little more (consistent) offense and Adam Morgan not giving up a PH homer to a fellow reliever (in a pinch hitting role, no less) and things may have been even better.
For the first time in what feels like forever, the Phils are in the green in run differential (+10). This was not an area they were in very much last year, even when they were winning games. Things started out with a bang on Monday when the Phils ripped off 10 hits, 7 for extra bases. Led by one of the Phils big signings, Howie Kendrick, who went 3 for 5. Cesar Hernandez (season opening HR) and Freddy Galvis showed some early pop. The capper for the week was Saturday nights offensive assault. In a 17-3 win over the Nats, the Phils scored 12 in the first inning without a HR. Kendrick is hitting .429 in the first week and Odubel Herrera (.364/.481) has picked up where he left off last year hitting .364 through 6 games. Not everything is sunshine and roses though. Tommy Joseph (.100), Maikel Franco (.136) and Michael Saunders (.211) have not added much to the heart of the lineup.
Things haven’t been quite as shiny for the pitching staff. Jeremy Hellickson has started well. He was well on his way to a 2-0 start before Jeanmar Gomez blew his 1st save (nearly his 2nd) of the season. Things are not looking too bright for Jeanmar holding onto that closer role as he did last year when he was unstoppable in the first half of the season. Gomez and Morgan, along with Joely Rodriguez, have not started well but the rest of the bullpen has been near perfect thus far. The rotation has not been bad but needs to pitch deeper. Vince Velasquez 10 K outing looks good in a stat line but the 3 BB’s and 2 HR’s in only 4 innings of work is not a harbinger of wins.
Around the N.L. East
Marlins– The Marlins wrapped 3 losses around 3 wins in the middle of the week to even themselves out. After losing 2 of 3 to the Nats in D.C. they went into New York and took 2 of 3 before losing to Noah Syndergaard on Sunday night. The Marlins will finally come home this week for 2 with the Braves and 4 with the Mets.
Nationals– After their back to back season opening wins against the Marlins, the Nats went on to lose 3 of their next 4, including 2 of 3 to the Phightins. Outside of Jeremy Guthrie (135.00 ERA), the biggest issue thus far has been their bullpen. Every member of the bullpen has given up at least 1 run thus far. Daniel Murphy (.480) has picked up where he left off and Ryan Zimmerman has 3 HR’s in the first week. If he can stay healthy this year, he might be what the Nats need to put them over the top. The Nats will see the Cardinals and Phils come to Washington for 3 each this week and hope their bullpen can stop some of the bleeding.
Mets– The Met’s lost a game to the Braves. Oh, they won 2 as well. After salvaging a win on Sunday night to the Marlins, the Mets sit in the logjam that is the East with everyone else. Syndergaard has ceded just 1 ER in his 2 starts thus far although just one win to show for it. After spending the first week in the confines of their home park, they’ll spend week 2 on the road. They’ll start the week with 3 in Philly before going to Miami for 4.
Braves– Well, they got a win in the first week and they signed Ryan Howard… so they’ve got that going for them. The Braves will play 2 in Miami before finally having their home opener to start a 4 game set with the Padres.
The Phils will next see the Mets for 3 games at CBP. They will face deGrom but miss Syndergaard. They’ll follow that up with a weekend set in Washington where they will see Strasburg for the 2nd time but unfortunately will miss another shot at Jeremy Guthrie. We’re off and running folks. Enjoy the ride.