Three games into the season is no time to panic. That said, I understand if everyone is feeling pretty lousy about the Phillies after the first series of the season. At one point in Spring Training, this team had incredible vibes and looked ready to defend their National League crown. But at the moment, the vibes feel like a team suffering from a World Series hangover.
The schedule makers didn’t make things easy on them by giving them six straight on the road to start the season. (And this comes after finishing the 2022 season with ten straight road games!) Yankee Stadium doesn’t seem like the ideal location for a struggling team to snap out of it, but who knows; Maybe the bright lights of New York will help the Phillies switch back into playoff mode?
Record: 2-1 (Second place in American League East, one game back)
The last time they met
The Phillies hosted the Yankees for two games in May 2021 and then-manager Joe Girardi was able to get revenge on his old team with a sweep. However, there was a rematch at Yankee Stadium a couple of months later in which the Yankees returned the favor.
What’s the deal with the Yankees?
Last season, the Yankees won the American League East and made it to the ALCS where they once again proved incapable of beating the Houston Astros. I realize the Phillies also lost to the Astros, but at least they looked like they belonged on the same field and actually won two games in the series. For whatever reason, the Yankees lose all sense of competence when they play Houston, and because they couldn’t even extend the series to a fifth game, the Astros got to enter the World Series well rested.
The Yankees big offseason move was to spend a few dollars and bring back American League MVP Aaron Judge. Judge and Giancarlo Stanton comprise perhaps the most fearsome power duo in baseball, or at least they do until Stanton makes one of his annual trips to the injured list.
Is there a more dynamic duo than Stanton and the injured list? https://t.co/bSrJAjTPND— Lauren Wilz & Paisley (RIP Angie❤) (@LWilz) May 17, 2021
They also tried to upgrade their rotation by signing pitcher Carlos Rodon, but the effects of that signing won’t be felt during this series since Rodon is currently on the IL.
If you look past the big names, you notice that the Yankees have a quite a few question marks. They’re counting on big seasons from rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe as well as older players who are either injury-prone, in decline, or both. Will Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, Josh Donaldson, and DJ LeMahieu all be able to stay on the field and produce at the level that they used to?
Left out in center
It’s unproven whether or not Brandon Marsh can consistently hit left-handed pitching, but if the alternative is Cristian Pache, they need to at least let him try. Pache’s debut with the Phillies went about as poorly as it could have, and it’s not like he has a great track record of success at the plate.
In 89 PAs vs LHP in 2022, Cristian Pache hit .220/.281/.317 with 1 HR, 9 RBI, 14 K, 7 BB— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) April 2, 2023
Brandon Marsh in 105 PAs vs LHP in 2022 .188/.225/.260, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 44 K, 5 BB
I get it, try Pache out in CF vs LHP on occasion, I just hope it’s not an every time they face LHP thing.
If you recall, the Phillies gave up catching prospect Logan O’Hoppe in exchange for Marsh, and O’Hoppe just hit his first major league home run. I realize that O’Hoppe was blocked at catcher in Philadelphia, but if he becomes a star, it will be a bad look if all the Phillies got in return was a platoon outfielder.
I was going to shelve the trivia feature this year, but if I come across a good question, I’ll bring it back from time to time. For those who are new or have forgotten, please answer in the comments, and don’t confirm or deny so that everyone has a chance to guess. The intention is that you don’t just look up the answer but since there’s no actual prize, I’m not going to crack down too hard.
The last game the Phillies played in Yankee Stadium was a walkoff extra-inning win for the Yankees. But earlier in the game, a future Phillie blew a save for the Yankees? Who was he?
The Yankees as an MCU villain
The Yankees are Xu Wenwu.
Both used to be responsible for an evil empire. But these days, nobody finds them all that fearsome, and despite what they might think, we’re not all that impressed by a bunch of rings they got decades ago.
Twice in the past few years, the Phillies did the opposite of what we just saw and had a terrific opening series. And it ended up meaning almost nothing when it came to the final standings.
In 2019 and 2021, the Phillies swept the Braves in their opening series and built a 3-game lead before anyone had a chance to breathe. Atlanta won the division both years and the Phils missed the playoffs.— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) April 3, 2023
That's called a reverse jinx, kiddos. https://t.co/GWFI5tO7UM
It sucks to start the season off on such a poor note, but even the best teams will have rough patches at some point. If they come out and win a couple of games against the Yankees, that Rangers series will be quickly forgotten. On the other hand, if they continue to look awful over the next few days, and they are 0-6 heading into the home opener, we may find out just how much grace that National League pennant provides.