Does it feel to you as if the Phillies have struggled to hit the longball this year, while their opponents seem to be hitting a whole lot of them?
It’s not you. It’s happening.
Long ball dilemma: only StL, Pitt and SF have hit fewer HR than Phils (25). Only SD has given up more (38-36).— Larry Shenk (@ShenkLarry) May 1, 2017
The numbers Larry cites above represent National League totals for 2017. League-wide, the Phillies are 21st in home runs hit and 28th out of 30 teams in homers given up (the Angels and Padres both have allowed 38).
And now, the Phils get to play four games against Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell.
Should be good.
Yep, the Phils’ offense has been among the most power-starved units in baseball, while the pitching staff (the bullpen most prominently) has been getting beaten by dingers left and right.
Through the month of April, Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco lead the team with four homers, with Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera behind them with three. Daniel Nava, Aaron Altherr and Brock Stassi each have two, with Andrew Knapp, Andres Blanco, Cameron Rupp, Michael Saunders and Tommy Joseph all with one dinger a piece.
Home runs are a lot of fun when you are the ones hitting them.
On the other side of the coint, the starting rotation has been pretty good, with just 16 homers allowed, tied for 22nd-most. Only five starting rotations have allowed fewer home runs, and thanks to a league-low 39 walks given up, most of those blasts have been solo shots.
Vince Velasquez leads the staff with five, while Zach Eflin and Jerad Eickhoff each have given up three. Jeremy Hellickson has allowed two, with Nick Pivetta, Aaron Nola and the now-injured Clay Buchholz giving up a dinger a piece.
But the bullpen is a different story. Their 20 home runs allowed is three more than the next closest ‘pen, the Detroit Tigers, and I talked about it a lot on the most recent Felske Files podcast with Justin Klugh.
It seems impossible to comprehend, but among relief pitchers, Adam Morgan still leads the entire team in blasts given up, with an astonishing six in just six innings of work. Hector Neris has already given up four, with three of them coming against the Dodgers in Saturday’s blown save meltdown.
Neris gave up nine homers all last season.
But it wasn’t the only soul-crusher this season.
Jeanmar Gomez has also allowed four, with Joely Rodriguez (3), Edubray Ramos (2), and Joaquin Benoit (1) each getting dinged as well.
It’s just one month of game action, and hopefully the homer equity will turn around. But an uncertain back of the bullpen, and a lineup whose 4-5-6 hitters have experienced significant struggles, does not lead one to believe things are about to turn around anytime soon.