What's wrong with the Phillies? & My suggestions

Is it the offense?

to get a quick look I looked at Baseball references Wins above average rankings for the team

Catcher 14th, 1B 21st, 2B 3rd, 3B 13th, SS 14th, LF 25th, CF 8th, RF 8th, DH 16th

Compared the league we look really good at second (Stott), pretty good in RF (Castellanos) & CF (Marsh)

Realmuto, Turner, Turner, 3rd (mostly BohM), DH are mediocre .

1st & LF (Schwarber) are below average

1st is understandable - it wasn't the plan to lose Hoskins & Hall, Schwarber didn't start his climb up the NL leaderboards until mid-May last year and it's not all on him.. I really like what Bohm is doing and would not call his hitting mediocre - just reporting there.

A little deeper into the offense:

We are 22nd in home runs (disappointing) but 3rd in total bases (?)

5th by OPS when batting left & 10th when batting right

4th vs. RHP & 14th vs. LHP

Team OPS .794

Edmundo Sosa OPS .820 vs RHP .236 Kody Clemens OPS vs RHP .452

Brandon Marsh OPS 1.296 vs LHP 1.273 Cristian Pache OPS vs LHP .769

Jake Cave OPS .609 vs LHP .500 Josh Harrison OPS vs LHP .429

Our RHBs hit better than we do against LHP - this indicates to me our platooning RHB are dragging us down

And we can confirm that in the platoon splits in all cases except Clemens & Sosa - and it's just not that much of an edge we are getting from Clemens over Sosa

8th by OPS leading off an inning 10th with runners on 22nd with runners in scoring position

so we are getting lots of isolated singles, doubles & walks that don't amount to anything because we aren't hitting when it matters - when we have an opportunity to score - we are wasting offense.

More home runs would help with that.

Is it the pitching?

Starting pitching 20th, Relief Pitching 30th (AAV ranking Baseball reference)

By WHIP: 28th pitching, 14th for starters, 29th for relievers

14th in strikeouts, 16th in homeruns allowed, 4th in walks allowed

28th in WHIP with bases empty, 30th in WHIP with runners on

In the 6 games where starters have thrown more than 90 pitches - the Pjillies are last in WHIP

(compared to other teams games where the starters have thrown more than 90 pitches).

We've been walking to many and the bullpen has been more disappointing than any other component of the team - dead last in the show.

if we consider pre-season expectations we could group the bullpen into two halves:

First 4 (Alvarado, Dominguez, Kimbrel, Soto) ERA 7.32 Total IP: 20.5

next 4 (Bellatti, Brogdon, (Marte) or Moore, Vasquez) ERA 5.96 IP: 24.5

I'm not surprised that the backend of the bullpen has a better ERA even given Alvarado's amazing 1.6),

what surprises me is that they haven't pitched an even bigger share of the innings.

It seemed to me that with so many losses, we were pitching our back end guys a lot and postponing the innings that the top four may need to get on track. Maybe it's not that dramatic, but I still think if we are losing games and we need Dominguez, Kimbrel, etc.. to get on track - we need to pitch them anyway. Soto has been improving, but Soto had the chance to pitch in some losses.

As for starters, it may be interesting that our best starter by stats is Matt Strahm - who because he was not stretched out as a starter in spring training has been on a short innings count leash. The "starter" starters, have all struggled more - but especially after pitching 5 innings or 90 pitches. Strahm has never seen the 6th inning, but everyone else has had a rough time. So I doubt they were actually stretched out in spring training and we are seeing that now. Nola & Wheeler were supposed to be stretched out on the back fields in simulated games and I'm not sure that was a successful strategy.

I think it may also be true that our relievers and our starters were less prepared for the pitch clock than other teams. And a big part of this was that Realmuto was at the WBC and didn't catch in that many spring training games and Stubbs was injured at the WBC and didn't catch in that many spring training games and staying with the pitch clock takes both halves of the battery and our battery didn't connect.

What about team defense? It's really small samples to evaluate team defense, but compared the the MLB - the Phillies are 22nd in team Fangraphs UZR (ultimate Zone Rating) and 25th in DRS (def runs saved). These are below average and there are ways to improve them, but this team is not built for defense and there is only so much you can do.

ranked by DRS, Realmuto is 4th, Stott is in a many-way tie for 2nd, Castellanos looks better for DRS than UZR but is above average (RF), Turner is mediocre, and the others have small enough sample sizes to make this silly. More Sosa (at 3rd or as a defensive replacement at short late in games) & Cave allowing Schwarber (or Castellanos) to DH (and not Harrison in DH) would help.

Of course it's easy to say the biggest problem with the Phillies is injuries - Harper, Hoskins, Hall, Suarez, (Injuries to Painter,Nelson, Sanchez, etc.. haven't really effected us). But teams have injuries and there's nothing I can recommend to fix that, so let's talk about things that could be improved



Diagnosis - too few home runs, poor "clutch" hitting, ineffective platoons, injuries (Harper, Hoskins, Hall)

Prescription - You can't tell hitters to hit better in the clutch or hit more home runs - it's in their nature, but

Bryce Harper is both a monster clutch hitter and a great HR hitter - we need him back .. soon.

stop putting in poor hitters in the lineup for platoon optimization - it's not working - hit Marsh, Cave & Sosa more


Diagnosis - starters weren't stretched out in spring training, pitchers didn't work enough with these catchers in spring training with the pitch clock, three of the four top relievers aren't pitching well, giving up too many walks, injuries (mostly Suarez)

Prescription - we can't fix mistakes of spring training - they are there. Some of this will have to "shake out" with time. I would prescribe we pitch our top relievers (even if they aren't pitching like it) even in losses if we have to to get them some work, I don't think they get better sitting in the bullpen. and we could get some innings to the top relievers by keepin a shorter pitch count leash on the starters.