Baseball season is long. It’s a season full of peaks and valleys, hot streaks and cold streaks. Who’s hitting, who’s slumping, who deserves more playing time, who needs to sit. All of these and more are common questions during the slog of a 162 game season. Here we’ll quickly break down some storylines and player performances to get a better picture of what is happening with the Phillies on a weekly basis.
Segura returned from the injured list after missing 15 games and it picked up right where he left off. Since returning on May 7th, he is 8-18 in four games, including a four-hit game in his return. Segura’s average is now up to .359 on the season, which would put him third in baseball if he had enough at bats to qualify.
McCutchen has stayed hot over the last week, hitting .357 with a 1.138 OPS in his last seven games with three home runs and seven RBIs. He is now hitting .333 in May after hitting just .169 in April. McCutchen’s hot streak has raised his season average to .221 and his OPS to .771. His defense has still been poor, but he has provided a massive spark out of the leadoff spot since the calendar turned to May.
Realmuto has been hitting well all season, but he has been particularly good as of late. He’s hitting .320 with a 1.092 OPS over his last seven, but the most impressive component has been his hitting with runners in scoring position on the year. On a team that has generally struggled with RISP this season, Realmuto is hitting .292 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 32 plate appearances. That is a major improvement from his .235 AVG in the same situation last year. Hopefully he does not miss much time after getting hit in the knee with a foul ball on Tuesday.
Suarez was recalled from Lehigh Valley on May 6th to be a fill-in for the Phillies bullpen. He has pitched just two innings, but he has not allowed a run and has allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out three. It is a very small sample size, but Suarez should start to get consideration for taking David Hale’s roster spot. Suarez has youth and upside over Hale, plus the added bonus of being left handed in a ‘pen that only has one current lefty.
Howard isn’t on the Major League roster, as he is currently in Lehigh Valley working on getting stretched out to be a starter. But so far through two starts, Howard has thrown five innings and has not allowed a run. He has surrendered just one hit with three walks and struck out five. Howard is on an innings limit this season, so any contribution he makes to the big league club will be limited as well. However, if Howard can join the rotation and give quality innings, it would greatly increase the Phillies odds at making the postseason.
Another week, another set of questionable decisions by the Phillies manager. His double switches coupled with a Pablo Sandoval pinch hit home run led to Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm, Jean Segura, and Brad Miller being out of an extra-innings game for Nick Maton, Scott Kingery, and Andrew Knapp. Then, Girardi chose not to pinch hit for Chase Anderson in the top of the sixth inning on Tuesday in a 3-0 game with the bases loaded and no outs. The Phillies did not score in the inning, and Anderson faced just two batters in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a home run and a walk.
Girardi passed on the opportunity to blow the game open and chose instead to ride Anderson, who prior to this point had yet to even throw a pitch in the sixth inning. Compound all that with a fully rested bullpen coming off of an off-day with Zack Wheeler on the mound the next day.
Hoskins is struggling and appears to be in the doghouse. He has recently been benched and dropped to seventh in the lineup. Hoskins is hitting just .200 over his last seven games and .208 over his last 15. The most alarming thing is his K-BB ratio, which is 26-8 over that span. His .286 OBP and 6.8 BB% are both dramatic decreases from his career norms. Hoskins is prone to hot and cold hitting streaks, but his ability to draw walks usually doesn’t drop this sharply.
Harper has struggled a bit since fully returning from the sore wrist he suffered after being hit in the face on April 28th. Since that game, Harper is hitting just .190 with a .726 OPS in five games. He has nine strikeouts in that span.
Kingery started the season in Triple A in order to try and fix his swing but was recalled due to injuries on May 5th. He has appeared in 12 games and is just 1-13 with seven strikeouts and no walks. Kingery still looks completely lost at the plate.
Gregorious is just 5 for his last 30 and 11 for his last 58. His season average is now down to .232 with a .640 OPS. Gregarious is striking out in nearly 20% of his plate appearances and has continued to struggle in the field. His six errors are tied for the fifth most in baseball.
Hitting with RISP
The Phillies as a team rank 18th in baseball with a .239 AVG with runners in scoring position. They are 7 for 43 in their last three games prior to Wednesday.
The Phillies also continue to strikeout at an absurd rate. They now rank second behind the 11-24 Tigers with a 27.5 K%. Phillies hitters have struck out 10 or more times in 17 of 36 games this season. That is second only to the Tampa Bay Rays, who have 22 such games.