Phillies Mailbag: Slow Start, Bench, Starting Pitching
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Ask your questions at any time on Twitter to @FrankKlose and tune into the Sports Bash on Tuesday afternoons to hear your questions answered!
What is the matter with the Philadelphia club?
~Matt (and many others, with some animated language)
The Phillies are off to an 0-4 start. Yes, that is less than pleasant to watch. But just like the Cincinnati Reds will not win at a .750 clip this season, I do not think the Phillies will be winless. But here is an idea.
The Phillies miss Rhys Hoskins
I do not think that this is necessarily a production issue. Look up and down the line: sans Kyle Schwarber starting slow (though he has been helpful in the two-hole behind Trea Turner) the numbers in terms of batting average look good. The run total does not.
Rhys Hoskins was more than just a bat in the lineup; he was a key part of the Phillies clubhouse. Losing a player like that is harmful to morale. Maybe some players are pressing in his absence when runners are on.
Hoskins will be at Citzens Bank Park for the home opener. His presence might help them relax with runners on some more. I think overall, if they're hitting, they will be okay.
Will the Phillies need to put Scott Kingery on the 40-man roster and bring him up?
The Phillies opted to trade for Cristian Pache rather than add Scott Kingery as the last man on their roster. Pache is a stellar center fielder. Jake Cave made the roster and has not hit just yet. But I would not look to Kingery just yet.
It's probably why they have not; yes, he will need to be added to the 40-man roster before they summon him from Triple-A. I would see how much time the Phillies could get him at shortstop and center field.
But I would not make a roster move just yet. Cave earned his roster spot with a strong Spring; it should be that he has at least some opportunity to show that he can stick. If not, the Phillies might have to keep looking in the organization. But I do not think that conversation should happen just yet.
Is it too early to worry about the starting pitching? If not, did we ignore this issue during the offseason because of the offense?
I personally thought the Phillies should have added more starting pitching depth. They had to pay a lot of money to get Taijuan Walker to replace Kyle Gibson, and that was even assuming that Bailey Falter or Andrew Painter could lock down the fifth spot. There is little depth beyond that, which is why Matt Strahm is goin to be the fifth starter.
The Phillies definitely need depth. They are reportedly looking at Dallas Keuchel for some depth in the system. Maybe the free agent Mike Minor is someone else. But they are down even Cristopher Sanchez and Nick Nelson right now so they are walking a tightrope.
I would have to think we will see better from Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler. Falter was more than fine. Walker was OK, as a defensive miscue affected his start. I'm worried about Strahm's first start, which should not exceed three innings. They need to make up for those innings from a bullpen that's already been busy.
I don't think the offense was why; it was probably a combination of the high cost for marginal help and the Phillies having some options. Losing Ranger Suárez hurts. Hopefully he will be back soon.
But they cannot afford to lose another arm right now.