Even though it won’t be official for another six months, the Philadelphia Phillies will continue to be referred to as the reigning champions of the National League.
After a week of games in which virtually everything that could go wrong did go wrong, including their ace being knocked out of the game, blown leads, base running mistakes, fielding errors, mounting injuries, and more, the Phillies are finally set to return home on Friday (and yes, even their home opener was messed up by weather and postponed), where they will raise the 2022 banner and host the Reds.
You do realize that the Phillies’ record of 1-5 does not tell the whole story, right? This team has been through tougher situations and boasted several incredible achievements during the previous season, which should equip them with the experience necessary to fight their way back to.500 as quickly as possible.
If you are on the fence about how optimistic you should be about the 2023 Philadelphia Phillies, we dove into the stat sheet and found ten interesting and encouraging reasons why you should continue to be optimistic about them.
The first half of the bullpen has not yet given up a run (Bellatti, Strahm, Velasquez, Alvarado)
This season, nine different relievers have participated in more than one game. One of them has already been taken into disciplinary action (Yunior Marte). Three of them have terrible ERAs that are in the double digits (remember, the sample size is between two and four games). Yet, four of the pitchers mentioned above have gone several innings without allowing a run to be scored against them. At this time, it is helpful to have some arms on which to rely, and the pitchers who have failed, such as Seranthony Dominguez, Craig Kimbrel, and Gregory Soto, have a history of success that should be found again.
This is a significant help for a lineup that is already missing Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper. Bryson Stott has had a hit in every game so far (.435) This is a huge lift for the lineup. Several people were concerned that the Phillies would be missing the type of irritating hitter that Hoskins provides by not having him in the middle of the batting order to take pitches and work walks. Stott has made up for lost time in a big way. According to Baseball Reference, Stott sees an average of 3.96 pitches per at bat and has more strikes sent his way than all but three other batters in the history of the sport. He has made them pay for their faults as a pitcher by capitalizing on those successes.
The batting line for Alec Bohm is very impressive (.350/.458/.600)
It appears as though Bohm can be counted on to hit each and every day and have a batting average of.300 or higher by the time the season is up. It would be nice to see an increase in his power numbers, but he is responsible for one of the Phillies’ four home runs so far this season. At Citizens Bank Park, it is imperative that the team as a whole rediscover their power hit.
Yet, their pitching staff has the second-highest strikeout rate per nine innings in the league.
It should come as no surprise that the Phillies’ pitching has been the weakest in all of Major League Baseball through the first week of the season. But, there are a few teeny-tiny slivers of hope here and there. They allow a high percentage of batters to reach base safely, but their strikeout rate is the second best in the league. I take it that this is something that can be built upon. They have a large number of flamethrowers on the staff, therefore it is possible that strikeouts will be the most important statistic this year in the bullpen.