The Phillies hit the quarter pole of the season in decent shape despite some recent mediocrity. They’re a half-game back of the Mets in a very winnable division, and they’re hoping Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius aren’t injured too severely.
The Phillies’ problem lately, however, hasn’t been their first 41 games but rather their second 41. Here’s a look since 2016:
*Phillies were in first place after 41 games in 2019.
We’re No. 1
Here is how opening-day starters are doing among the NL East teams:
Phillies, Aaron Nola, 3-3, 3.64 ERA, 1.09 WHIP: Has gotten through seven innings in two of nine starts. Slumping lately (4.85 ERA last 5 GS); next start is Friday against Boston, third in the majors in runs per game.
Atlanta, Max Fried, 1-1, 6.55 ERA, 1.73 WHIP: Missed three weeks in April with a hamstring injury.
Miami, Sandy Alcantara, 1-3, 4.06 ERA, 1.16 WHIP: ERA had been 2.72 before the Dodgers lit him up for eight runs Friday.
New York, Jacob deGrom, 3-2, 0.68 ERA, 0.60 WHIP: Has given up three earned runs in 40 innings but is on the IL with tightness in his right side.
Washington, Max Scherzer, 3-2, 2.10 ERA, 0.76 WHIP: Highlight was tossing a complete game on May 2 and then hustling to the hospital as his wife delivered the couple’s third child.
Bryce and the offense
Here are five things to know about Bryce Harper’s season at the quarter pole:
He’s missed eight of 41 games, the first time he’s been banged up since 2017. He clearly wasn’t right on Sunday with shoulder tightness.
He’s struck out 35 times in 140 plate appearances, much more than last season, when he fanned 43 times in 244 PAs.
Hitting .425 at Citizens Bank Park (.243 on the road), and his .307 average is his best since 2017.
Only two of his seven bombs, however, have come at home.
Hitting .227 (15-66) after the third inning, .219 after the sixth inning.
Most strikeouts, offenses
The Phillies strike out in 27.7% of their plate appearances. That’s more than once every four PAs. They are on pace for 1,659 strikeouts, which would easily be a team record. The seven highest strikeout totals in team history all are from 2013-19.
Stuck in the middle
The Phillies’ offense has been mediocre through the first quarter of the season. Here’s a look:
Five things to look forward to
Seven of the Phillies’ next 10 games are against the Marlins. Miami is 17-12 against the Phils the last two years (.586) and 71-122 vs. everyone else (.368).
The week of June 14; three at the Dodgers, three at the Giants.
The All-Star Game is in Denver for just the second time. The first, in 1998, set the ASG record for runs when the AL won 13-8. The over/under is going to be outrageous.
Zack Wheeler is 25-8 in his career in July and August with a 2.89 ERA.
A full house at Citizens Bank Park for the two-game series when the Yankees come to town June 12-13 thanks to the city easing coronavirus restrictions.
Sources: Inquirer research, Baseball-Reference.com.