We are officially a quarter into the 2022 MLB season. And the Philadelphia Phillies are three games under .500 and sit 3.5 games out of a postseason spot. The same issues from the beginning of the season and, frankly, from the last few seasons still persist. The clock is running short on time for Joe Girardi’s team to figure out, and it might be running short on his time as manager as well.
Eflin turned in arguably one of the best starts of his career against the Dodgers on Sunday. He set a new career high in strikeouts at 12 while allowing two runs in 7 innings against an extremely high-powered lineup. The two runs Eflin surrendered were both solo home runs, as he allowed just four total hits and two walks. Eflin’s 3.65 ERA is second best on the Phillies behind Zack Wheeler and his 2.20 expected ERA is the lowest.
Schwarber is slowly starting to put together the type of season that he was expected to have. He worked a tough walk in a fantastic plate appearance last night against Atlanta after starting down 0-2. In his last seven games, Schwarber has 6 walks to 9 strikeouts and is hitting .318 with a home run and a few other hard-hit balls that were close to going out. The Phillies should look to move Schwarber back into the leadoff spot soon.
The 28-year-old backup catcher has already wildly exceeded expectations. Stubbs is hitting .400 on the season with a 1.144 OPS in 10 games played. In Sunday’s wild walk-off win over the Dodgers, Stubbs was 2-2 with an RBI and a run scored. That run was the tying run before Roman Quinn’s winning run following the error by Max Muncy.
Harper is a rather pedestrian 5-18 (.278) since returning to the lineup on Saturday, but he nearly carried the Phillies to a win on Tuesday night before the bullpen gave it away. Last night against the Braves, Harper was 3-5 with 4 RBIs including a two-run moonshot home run that gave the Phillies the lead in the top of the ninth inning. He was responsible for knocking in 4 of the Phillies’ 5 total runs.
It’s getting increasingly more difficult to find a reason for Girardi to still be the manager of this team. They are underperforming in the win-loss column, the same issues from his previous years still persist, and he just cost them a game with disastrous bullpen management. Girardi’s rule that relievers can’t pitch three straight days because it keeps them fresh for the postseason doesn’t work when you’re eliminated by August. On the flip side, if you’re going to stay hard and fast to this rule, you can’t use your closer on a second consecutive day when you’re up four in the ninth. The counterargument is that Girardi doesn’t have great options to choose from, and that’s true. But it doesn’t change the fact that he has mishandled the options he does have.
Much like Girardi, it’s become increasingly difficult to see what Norwood adds to the team right now. He’s allowed 12 earned runs in 12.2 innings, clocking in at an 8.53 ERA on the season. He’s allowed 14 hits and six walks. That’s 20 total baserunners in just 12.2 innings across 15 appearances on the season. Norwood failed to record an out in his last appearance against Atlanta, instead allowing three total hits including a home run and a walk.
Realmuto’s poor season hit a new low on Sunday when he was tagged out as the tying run at third base with no outs after being deked by Justin Turner. This was despite third base coach Dusty Wathan yelling and pointing at the bag telling Realmuto to stay put. Also, this was after Realmuto let a ball go through his legs while playing first base. At the plate, Realmuto struck out swinging in his only plate appearance with two runners in scoring position and 2 outs in a tied ball game. Realmuto doesn’t need to be the Phillies’ second or third best hitter anymore, but he certainly needs to be better than his .197/.270/.318 batting line in May. He certainly has to be better on the basepaths and in the field if he’s not going to hit.
After a strong April, Castellanos has cooled considerably in May. He’s hitting .210 with a .601 OPS in 20 games this month. He’s been particularly cold over the last two weeks, as he’s hitting .194 over the last 15 games and an abysmal .107 in his last seven games. He has 20 K’s as opposed to just 4 walks in May as well. Castellanos’ season average was at .300 ending April. It’s now .255 with an OPS of just .726.