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Phillies Off to Impressive Start

Phillies Off to Impressive Start
Phillies Off to Impressive Start
With the 76ers and Flyers occupying the postseason, the Phillies start has been slightly under the radar. Yet it is impossible not to notice how improved this team is.
 
A year ago the Phillies were 66-96. Think about that. This has been brought up before but it must be mentioned to gain perspective and appreciation for what the Phillies have done.
After Monday’s 11-0 win over the visiting San Francisco Giants, the Phillies had improved to 19-15.
 
Even more impressive is that the victory came after a devastating 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals.
 
The Phillies increased their lead to 4-1 in the eighth inning on Maikel Franco’s home run, but the bullpen squandered the lead.
 
It will go down as one of the weirdest games of the season. The Phillies struck out 15 times against Max Scherzer but after he departed following 6 1/3 innings of work, the Phillies lit into the Nationals bullpen.
 
The fact that the Phillies were able to turn the page and crush the Giants, is a good sign for a young team.
 
The season isn’t yet at the quarter pole, but one would have to be pleased with how the Phillies have fared.
 
In addition, young phenoms such as Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery have gone through some slumps. It will be interesting how each does in a full season.
 
Hoskins was hitting .281 with a .938 OPS. He earlier had an on base percentage higher than .500 but that has since “fallen” to .428.
 
Kingery has struggled in his first stop in the Major Leagues. He was hitting .212. The Phillies signed him to a long-term contract and they believe in him. While his average isn’t high, he has gotten some big hits, but the key is that the league is now getting a book on him and he will have to make the necessary adjustments.
 
Aaron Nola is pitching like an all-star. Though his first seven starts he was 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA. The addition of Jake Arrieta was huge, not only for his on-field production, but also because he brings a veteran presence to an extremely young staff.
 
Franco, who many felt might be on the trading block, has gotten off to a quick start and he shouldn’t feel like he has to do it all, the way he might have in previous years.
Centerfielder Odubel Herrera hit two home runs and reached base for the 36th consecutive game. Like Nola, he should be headed to the all-star game, especially if he continues this production were he was batting .341 with a .938 OPS.
 
The Eastern Division will be hotly contested. Defending division champ Washington, which got off to a horrid start, is now back in the race, joining the Phillies, New York Mets and just as surprising Atlanta Braves as contenders.
 
All four were a game or two apart in the standings.

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It’s way too early for scoreboard watching, but the Phillies have at least shown that they will be among the most improved teams in the National League and those suggestions of them contending are no longer farfetched.

 
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Author: Marc Narducci

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