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2021 Over/Under/Never mid-season check-in

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Where does the over/under/never game stand after 39.5% of the games have been played?

Boston Red Sox v Philadelphia Phillies
Rhys Hoskins celebrates after hitting his 100th career home run on May 22nd, because he picked over.
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Back in March, the 2021 Over/Under/Never game began. I wrote 30 questions about the upcoming Phillies season and several entrants left their best guesses to my questions in the comments section.

For those just joining us, here’s a brief review of the rules:

  • Choose “over” if you think the event in question will take place after the suggested date OR that the total number will be higher than the one suggested.
  • Choose “under” if you think the event in question will take place before the suggested date OR that the total number will be lower than the one suggested.
  • Choose “never” if you think the event in question will never happen.

At this point in the season, we have the answers to eight of the questions, and we have a pretty good sense of what the answer will be for several more. Let’s take a look at what we know so far, and everyone playing along at home can check their answers. If you didn’t make any official guesses before the season, this is still a fun way to check in on how the Phillies have performed in comparison to pre-season expectations. Correct answers are written in bold.

The Calendar Events

1. a. First blown save by Hector Neris - 04/22 (correct answer: under) b. First blown save by Archie Bradley - 04/22

  • I published the original questions just two days before Joe Girardi announced that Hector Neris would be the official closer. Neris has saved 9 in 13 chances, and Archie Bradley has yet to have a save opportunity.

2. 100th career home run for Rhys Hoskins (needs 9) - 05/17 (over)

  • Hoskins almost hit his 100th home run on May 2, but it turned out to be a double off the fence. I think we all know how that one turned out. After that, it ended up taking until May 22 for Hoskins to hit his actual 100th home run.

3. 1000th career strikeout for Aaron Nola (needs 78) - 06/03 (under)

  • This was a close one. Nola became the fastest Phillies pitcher to record 1000 strikeouts, reaching the milestone on June 1.

4. Bryce Harper’s 50th walk of the season (49 BB in 58 games last year) - 06/11

  • It’s not over ‘til it’s over (literally), but I feel comfortable saying that Bryce will eventually get to 50 walks before the end of the season (he needs 22 more).

5. Phillies trade for a reliever - 06/17

  • It’s difficult to imagine that Dombrowski won’t eventually trade for a reliever this year, but it hasn’t happened yet. I wish this one was an under.

6. First start by Spencer Howard - 06/28 (under)

  • Howard made his first start on May 22.

7. Vince Velasquez has a great start (min. GSv2 of 70, or at the discretion of The Good Phight staff) - 07/12

  • Velasquez pitched 6 innings with 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, and 0 runs against the Marlins on May 25 for a game score of 67. Close, but no cigar.

8. J.T. Realmuto’s 20th runner thrown out on the bases - 07/19

  • Realmuto has caught 5 out of 15 would-be base-stealers, for a caught stealing percentage of 33%. That’s better than last year, when he only caught 5 out of 20 (25%) but not nearly as good as 2019, when he caught 43 out of 92 (47%). 20 caught stealing is still a possibility for him, but not by mid-July.

9. A start by a pitcher other than Nola, Wheeler, Eflin, Moore, Anderson, Velasquez, Howard, Suarez, or Medina (not including bullpen games) - 08/09

  • Bailey Falter impressed in his 3-inning appearance against the Dodgers on Monday. It seems like he’ll be pitching after Spencer Howard for the time being, but if he continues to impress, Joe Girardi could flip the two of them around.

10. The Phillies are mathematically eliminated from NL East contention (season ends on Oct. 3rd) - 09/27

  • They’re still in this race, people!

Numerical Events

1. 29.5 home runs for Alec Bohm (as predicted by Archie Bradley)

  • Yeah, probably not going to happen.

2. 2.5 Phillies in the All-Star Game

  • As I wrote recently, it’s still possible that the Phillies will have 3+ All-Stars, but not as likely as it was a few weeks ago.

3. 9.5 wins against the Marlins (the Phillies are 12-17 against the Marlins over the past two years)

  • The Phillies are 3-4 against Miami right now, so they’d have to go 7-5 over the rest of the season to finish with a winning record against the Fish.

4. 3.5 Positions played by Scott Kingery (over)

  • Kingery played second, third, and all three outfield positions in his time with the big league club this season.

5. 100.5 games led-off by Andrew McCutchen

  • Cutch has led off in 43 games this year, but he’s no longer the leadoff hitter anymore. He could still regain that lineup spot if he starts to heat up and Odubel Herrera flounders, but he might not have time to lead off 57 more games.

Phillies Team Leaders

This category is all about the number; it doesn’t matter who the team leader will be. I.e. If you think the Phillies team leader will have more than 34.5 HR, choose over.

1. 34.5 home runs

  • Rhys Hoskins is on pace for about 31 home runs right now, so he’s within striking distance of this number, especially since he tends to hit home runs in bunches.

2. 3.00 ERA (min. 120 IP)

  • Zack Wheeler looks well on his way to a sub-3.00 era season.

3. 14.5 stolen bases

  • The Phillies have been stealing some bases this year, and they’ve been doing so successfully. Both Bryce Harper and Jean Segura could reasonably end up with 15+ swiped bags by the end of the year.

4. 20.5 saves

  • Hector has 9 saves right now, so as long as he remains the closer (and it seems like he will for the time being) then he should surpass 20 saves.

5. 4.5 fWAR

  • Zack Wheeler (3.2 fWAR) is on pace for 7.9 fWAR if he makes 32 starts this season.

Former Phillies Around the League

1. 9.5 starts by Cole Hamels

  • No sign of Cole yet. :(

2. 7.5 HR allowed by Brandon Workman

  • Workman has allowed 4 home runs so far this season. The only question is if he’ll continue to get to pitch in the major leagues.

3. 2.5 fWAR by Cesar Hernandez

  • Our old friend Cesar has 0.8 fWAR so far, so 2.5 is unlikely, but still within reach. Good for him!

Which Will Happen First?

1. Jojo Romero is called up OR Scott Kingery is called up? (Romero)

  • Romero was called up on April 11, and Kingery got the call ten days later.

2. José Alvarado gets a save OR Hector Neris gets a save? (Neris)

  • Neris recorded his first save on April 4, just one day before Alvarado recorded his.

3. Aaron Nola pitches a complete game OR Zach Eflin pitches a complete game? (Nola)

  • Aaron Nola pitched a complete game gem against the Cardinals on April 18. Zach Eflin has yet to go longer than 7 innings in a start this season.

Total Shots in the Dark

1. Total attendance at Citizens Bank Park to the nearest thousand (1,000,000 points to whoever guesses this one)

2. Phillies win-loss record

3. How many trades does Dave Dombrowski make this season?

  • There will almost certainly be trades. Perhaps the better question now is whether the Phillies will be buyers or sellers.

Final Bonus Question

1. Which Phillies player will have the lowest fWAR in 2021? (No minimum IP or PA) In 2020, it was Heath Hembree (-0.8 fWAR) and in 2019 it was Nick Williams (-0.9 fWAR).

  • Currently, the correct answer is Andrew Knapp, who has been worth -0.6 fWAR in just 92 PA. Until recently, the answer was Alec Bohm, but he’s been playing a little better over the past few days.