Phillies Takeaways: A Look at the 5-1 Homestand to Open the Season
The Phillies have gotten off to a fast start to the season, sweeping the Braves in their opening series and taking two-of-three against the Mets after their 8-2 win on Wednesday.
So, with the first homestand in the books and the Phillies sitting at 5-1, let’s look at some key takeaways from this six-game home stand.
One of the biggest factors in the Phillies hot start has been the work of their bullpen. In fact, in the one game they have lost this season, it was their bullpen that was a major contributor to the result, with Vince Velasquez giving up four runs, thanks to four walks in 1.1 inning of work.
However, the rest of the crew has been outstanding and its been a night and day difference from the 2020 bullpen.
As our buddy Bob Wankel of Crossing Broad points out, the Phillies bullpen without the Velasquez disaster, is sporting a sparkling 1.74 ERA and has 22 strikeouts in 20.2 innings of work.
During the six-game set, Phillies pitchers struck out 26 hitters while walking 11 (four by Velasquez). In 2020, that was drastically different. The bullpen recorded just 15 strikeouts and walked nine in 16.2 innings.
Its the single biggest difference through the first games of the season, and while expecting them to maintain this pace all season isn't reasonable, they appear to be definitively better than last year's group.
Like a couple of the Phillies wins so far this season, the team got a big inning in the series finale against the Mets, which played a big factor in the team’s 8-2 win.
The four-run sixth inning was a welcome sight for the Philadelphia lineup, especially with how the runs were produced. The team got a pair of home runs, one from Rhys Hoskins and the other from Alec Bohm, to put a four-spot on the board.
In the teams three-run fifth inning, it was J.T. Realmuto who went deep, to make it 7-1 Phillies.
So far through six games, when you look at the Philliess’ box scores and stat lines, the only three guys hitting over .300 are Hoskins, Realmuto and Didi Gregorius.
Hosking is hitting .417 with a home run and four RBIs, Realmuto is hitting. 333 with six RBIs, while Gregorius is hitting .304 with a home run and two RBIs.
After those three, a lot of Philadelphia’s hitters’ have gotten off to slow starts, but have still been able to produce. Bryce Harper is hitting .263 but has a impressive .462 OBP and. Alec Bohm has had some clutch moments, knocking in five runs and Jean Segura has the game-winning RBI on Opening Day against the Braves.
The good news? Even with the inconsistent lineup, the Phillies have been able to get off to a 5-1 start, despite averaging just 4.3 runs per game. Once some of these bats start to come around, the team could be looking at a fun summer.
Getting more production from Andrew McCutchen, who is hitting just .176, and from the center field spot at the bottom of the order, will definitely add to an already deep lineup.
The Phillies will hit the road for the first time in 2021, starting with a trip to Atlanta to face the Braves. Zach Wheeler will get the start for his second appearance of the year for the Phillies while the Braves will counter with right-hander Charlie Morton.
In game two Zach Eflin will face Ian Anderson and in the series finale it will be Matt Moore against former Phillie Drew Smyly.
The series finale is this weeks Sunday Night Baseball game and is set for 7 p.m., with coverage starting at 6 p.m on 97.3 ESPN, South Jersey's Sports Leader.
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