The biggest question for the Philadelphia Phillies once they surged back into contention this year was “Can they hold it together in September?”. The month started with an inauspicious series in San Francisco that ended in a sweep. However, the Phillies are 7-1 since that series ended. Their schedule gets tougher starting this weekend, but they have successfully taken advantage of a light beginning to September.
Realmuto’s second-half surge seemingly has no end in sight. The Phillies catcher has three home runs over the last week including two Wednesday night in Miami. He has a 1.156 OPS over that span with 7 RBIs. His 3 fWAR in the second half is tied with Mookie Betts for the second most in baseball behind Aaron Judge’s 5 fWAR. Realmuto’s 177 wRC+ is seventh best in baseball in the second half and his 1.014 OPS is fifth best. He is only one of five players with an OPS over 1.000 in the second half. Two of the others, namely Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt, are MVP favorites.
Alvarado has evolved into the best and most consistent reliever in the Phillies bullpen. That is quite a thought considering where he was in May before he was demoted to Triple A. Alvarado has allowed just one earned run in 16 appearances since the beginning of August and is currently riding an 8 eight game scoreless streak. He has 21 strikeouts since the beginning of August and just three walks. Alvarado has allowed just one baserunner, a walk, in 6 appearances in September.
Falter has been everything the Phillies could’ve asked for and more starting in place of Zack Wheeler. In four starts since Wheeler’s injury, Falter has a 2.66 ERA in four starts and has pitched a quality start in three of those four games. The left hander hasn’t issued a walk since August 20th. Falter has limited baserunners and gotten quick outs. His tendency to allow fly balls (46.1%) may come back to haunt him eventually, but he has been rock solid when the Phillies have depended on him.
Maton owns a .283/.403/.660 batting line with 5 home runs and 16 RBIs in 20 games played this season. His two-run homer against Sandy Alcantara on Tuesday in the seventh inning gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead that they would hang onto for a win. Maton became the only player to homer off the Cy Young favorite twice this season, and he did it in less than a week. Maton has been huge for the Phillies in limited action this year and has played himself into a permanent role on the team.
Robertson has been increasingly shaky of late. He’s pitched two perfect innings in his last two appearances, but Robertson has struggled with allowing baserunners. He has five walks through five appearances in September after walking only four in 11 August appearances. He’s also allowed six hits in September as opposed to 7 total in August. Robertson’s pitches have looked flat at times, which is most likely linked to his heavy workload of late. Perhaps the return of Seranthony Dominguez will allow for Robertson to have more days off.
Harper has begun to heat up the last few games, but he’s hitting .192 over the last week. Of course, that comes with an .823 OPS and two home runs, but nevertheless he’s in a bit of a cold spell. Harper started September 3-21 with 10 strikeouts in six games before he was given a day off on September 9th. The day off seems to have worked, as Harper’s starting to hit like one can expect him to, including snapping his homerless drought on September 10th.
Schwarber too ended a homerless drought on Saturday, launching his first since August 29th. However, he has just 4 home runs since the start of August after hitting 10 in July alone. Schwarber has just a .664 OPS in September with 14 strikeouts to 5 walks in 11 games. The Phillies will need him to perform closer to his season OPS of .788 as their schedule begins to toughen up down the stretch.
The Marlins dominance over the Phillies
The Marlins, especially in Miami, used to be the bane of the Phillies’ existence. Philadelphia was 12-17 against Miami since the start of 2020 entering this season. However, the script has been flipped. The Phillies are 12-6 against the Marlins this year and have won five straight series over Miami. That includes a 6-3 record in their former house of horrors LoanDepot Park, formerly known as Marlins Park.