The first full week of the MLB season is complete and the Phillies are not winless or in last place. I would venture to say at least one of those is surprising to most folks in the area.
While there has not been a ton to be overly excited about, there have been some bright spots. The starting pitching has been better than anticipated in the early going.
Aaron Harang has a sub 1.00 ERA after two starts. Cole Hamels would look a lot better if he could keep the ball inside the park. He has given up 5 earned runs thus far all on solo HR’s. Papelbon, Giles and Luis Garcia all have 0.00 ERA’s through at least 3 outings. David Buchanan and Jake Diekman have had troubles but that’s been the worst of it.
This was a question mark coming in with youth and guys playing different positions, it has not been bad thus far but still needs work. The team has committed 7 errors in 8 games (1 was a catchers interference). The scariest aspect is that 2 of these have been committed by Freddy Galvis who is supposed to be replacing Jimmy Rollins at short. And yes, Ben Revere even threw a guy out at the plate.
The most expected of the 3 aspects has been the hitting, or lack thereof. The offense has been pretty stagnant to start the season and Cody Asche is off to a hot start at .429 and Galvis is at .345. Of the 8 position players with at least 20 at bats, those are the only 2 hitting over .250 and 5 players are hitting .200 or below. The team as a whole has just 6 home runs (Utley and Francoeur lead with 2 each)…1 more than Hamels has ceded. With numbers like this, it won’t matter much what the pitching does. And then there is Ryan Howard…that is all.
Overall, they have outperformed expectations early on but need to get runners in. Only 2 teams in the majors have scored fewer runs (Twins and Astros). Should the offense wake up, they may just avoid that 100 loss plateau that yours truly predicted as long as the pitching can hold up. I know, that’s a lot of if’s.
NL East roundup:
The Phils (3-6) currently sit in 3rd behind the Braves (6-3) and Mets (6-3). Probably the biggest surprise, maybe in all of the MLB, is the 3-6 Nationals tied for last with the Marlins. I expect we’ll see the Nats moving up as time goes on and the Braves sliding a little bit back.
So, 1 week in, it hasn’t been all bad. I think that’s better than expected so, that’s something, right?