Paps…Gone! Hamels…Gone! Revere…Gone! These are some pretty big visible changes to the Phillies roster. However, watching them these last couple weeks since the All Star break show that there are a lot more changes taking place internally. These changes are showing in the results. As fun as it is to watch, they may want to think about the effect this will have on their draft position though.
The offense is starting to click. They re getting timely hits. They’re playing small ball when it’s needed. They may have just traded their best hitter (based on average) but everyone is starting to join in the mix instead of relying on one or two guys. Maikel Franco is now their current leading hitter at .283 but Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis are all right behind. This balance is a key component to their current surge. Additionally, the power numbers are up as the gaps and fences are being found now and extra base hits are coming.
The pitching is doing it’s part as well. Since the break, the Phils have allowed 3 or fewer runs 10 times in their 15 games. Aaron Nola is looking good through his first few starts. If he can maintain this through the remainder of the season after some teams get tape on him, this will just be another sign of hope going into next year. Ken Giles has made everyone (who even cared) forget all about Jonathan Papelbon in his first few outings. There are some new arms waiting in the wings. We may see some in the next month or two and hopefully get an extended view of the (possible) future of the major league staff.
Around the N.L. East
Nationals– The Nats let the Mets hang around. Then, while the Mets were busy adding productive pieces, the Nats went and got themselves a closer when they already had one who was 29 of 31 on the season. While this may help strengthen the back end of their bullpen, it didn’t help their offense score more than 2 runs in any of the 3 games against the Mets this weekend. Now they find themselves tied atop the top with the Mets. The week ahead should help cure some ills as they take on teh bottom of the N.L. West in the recently purged D-Backs and should have been but weren’t recently purged Padres.
Mets– The Mets are horribly inconsistent. Their run differential is actually a -2. Somehow they keep hanging around. Adding a bat to their pitching rotation should help as long as everyone can stay healthy. A week in Florida facing the marlins and Rays may be just what they need to vault over the Nationals.
Braves– The Braves continued their fire sale and their record is showing it. They may be filling some holes in their farm system but they are writing off a season which still had some potential thanks to the inconsistency of the teams ahead of them. # games against he Giants this week won’t be a good way to turn things around and with 4 against the Marlins after that, the braves may be looking down at just the Phillies pretty soon.
Marlins– The Marlins were sellers too, depleting their pitching staff. They still may have an opportunity to jump ahead of the Braves at some point though depending on whose youth serves them better. Taking on the Mets and Braves this week could give a pretty good indication of where they may be sitting at the end of September.
The Phils will take on the Dodgers at home this week. They’ll get Grienke but avoid Kershaw. After that, they’ll head back out west to face the D-Backs and Padres. The beginning of the week may bring them back down to Earth a bit but they may have a chance at another run after that.
While it’s been fun watching lately, the team may want to watch those standings and boot an extra ball here and there. Maybe Sam Hinkie is available for the rest of the season as a consultant???