Are the Phils Still a Playoff-Caliber Team?
As of May 6, the Phillies sit atop the NL East standings. But can they hold their own come playoff time? With some fans already giving up on our hopes for October, it may seem out of reach to aim for a World Series this year. The Phillies, however, may still have a good chance and can start winning a lot more games if everyone prevents injuries and continues to play well.
So far this season, Philadelphia has had a real shot at being a good playoff team. Right now, we are a few games in front of the Mets and Braves, who are 1.5 and 3.5 games back, respectively. But can the team continue to win games with the recent struggles of Bryce Harper, the injuries that have plagued the team for the last few weeks, and the inconsistency of the batting order and bullpen?
Right now, the Phils are struggling with injury after injury. Herrera just made his return, and Scott Kingery hasn’t played since mid-April. That’s a real shame because he can deliver some real damage when he’s swinging the bat well. Once he is back, we should hopefully see our win rate jump a little bit. David Robertson, the closer we acquired over the offseason, isn’t expected to return until May 15. He can be really valuable and prevent us from blowing late-game leads as we have too many times in 2019. Victor Arano, another relief pitcher, will be out until at least May 13, according to CBS Sports. Getting this bullpen back together will prove vital to our success for the rest of the year.
Harper’s Struggles at the Plate
Okay, we get it. Harper’s just continued his performance from last year. This means he’s striking out more than he should and not getting as many extra-base hits and RBI. The fans were quick to turn on him. Boos are heard every time he does to hit. And that’s for good reason. We’re paying a guy $330 million to be an amazing player, not to have a mediocre career. For us to beat better teams and score more runs in games that shouldn’t be close, we need our 3-hole hitter to pick it up. When Harper’s doing well, he can drive in 100 or more RBI in a year.
Maikel Franco – Best 8-hole hitter in the league?
The one big bright spot this season has been Maikel Franco. Even though his batting average hasn’t been amazing, it’s great to see him consistently batting well and driving in runs at the bottom of the lineup. The last few games, his home runs haven’t been there. But, despite this, he can definitely turn it around soon and continue to be a real force in the lineup through the rest of this young season.
All in all, it’s definitely possible for us to start doing a lot better after the All-Star break and into September/October. As long as we keep our win rate good and stay atop the NL East, we have our playoff ticket. Right now, the biggest concern is that our players will stay healthy and that Harper will turn it around when it’s time for playoffs. If we can do that, the Phillies will be a guaranteed contender in the National League.