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This Week In Phillies: Week...uhhh...2+

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Procrastination didn’t help to the extent I hoped

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies
How I threw away last week’s update
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

First, a mea culpa. While my intention was for this to be a weekly feature, and I shall, going forward, keep to that schedule, last Thursday came upon us and I looked back at the prior week and, well, yikes. I didn’t want to write that negativity into existence, and hoped the weekend would turn the tides. That didn’t work as I’d wished.

Had I run a strictly second week overview it would have shown a 1-5 record, including losing 2 of 3 to the Braves and a Mets sweep. Yuck.

So, aggregating through last night, we instead get to enjoy a much...uh...better(?) 3-7 record since the first week, leading the Phillies to a NL EAST LEADING 8 wins! They have, of course, played 5 more games than the 7-win Mets, but leading the division in wins is leading the division in wins!

Breaking down the last 10 days into easily digestible tidbits:

The Good:

  • Bryce Harper is on fire. He’s 6 for his last 7 with a HR, double, and stolen base, leaving him with a .327/.459/.571 slash line on the season, which actually understates how well he’s hit the ball this year.
  • Aaron Nola had one of the most dominant Phillies’ pitching performances in the last decade:
  • The Phillies bullpen has been about average through 16 games. By most metrics, advanced and non, they fall in the middle third of bullpen production. While on its own this is not exceptional, when compared to the disastrous, historically putrid bullpen of 2020 it’s downright fantastic. Most of the pitchers with the most relief innings: Neris, Brogon, Alvarado, and Coonrod have all been quite good.

The Bad:

  • Centerfield is a wasteland. A barren, desolate, horrendous area where wins go to die.
  • Offensively, there are some star producers, who are doing their jobs. Unfortunately, they occupy only three of the regular lineup spots. Matt explains this quite well here:
  • Via weighted runs-created, the Phillies are producing 14% below league-average, which puts them 24th out of the 30 teams in the league. You don’t need more than a casio calculator to figure that that ain’t so good.
  • Andrew McCutchen. I love the dude. I think he’s an amazing human being, exceptionally funny, and—at one point in his career—a MVP caliber player. Unfortunately, he’s lost more than a step on defense and as the everyday leadoff hitter he’s currently sporting a robust .170/.316/.277 slash line, which I’m not sure is something even capable of being spun positively. It’s early in the season and the walk rate isn’t atrocious, I guess, is the only direction to go there.
  • Covid-19. Hey, remember that first week overview when I was concerned about “covidball?” Unfortunately, it was announced yesterday that:

Get vaccinated you fools.

  • Fourth and fifth rotation spots. While Nola, Wheeler, and Eflin can be counted on, to the extent any MLB pitcher can be, the 4th and 5th spots currently belonging to Matt Moore and Chase Anderson are, to put it mildly, concerning. They’ve spent the better part of three weeks showing why the Phils kept Vince Velasquez around.
  • E-A-G-L-E-S chants by drunkards lacking object permanence. You’re embarrassing the city to anyone watching on TV, and really just disgracing yourself considering that the Phillies are likely to be at least somewhat competitive this year while the Eagles are going to be lucky to poke their head out of the NFL’s gutter this season. Shut up, morons.

It’s been a rough week and a half for the Phillies, and with the covid protocols and various holes unable to be plugged in the short term it may be a bit before the team is hitting on all cylinders.

For this week and a half I give the Phillies a rating of Dom Brown. Potential to be Dominating, and showing it in very limited but exceptional spurts, but as of yet not quite able to sustain said peformance: ( https://i.imgur.com/xLQJHXm.mp4 ):