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.
Realmuto has ridden the momentum from his All-Star game home run into the second half of the season. In the four games since the Phillies resumed play, Realmuto is hitting .333 with 4 RBIs including a two run walk-off home run. In fact, Realmuto is hitting .351 with an .886 OPS over the last two weeks. His performance is one of the biggest reasons behind the Phillies recent offensive resurgence.
Jankowski, much like Ronald Torreyes, has been a pleasant surprise for the Phillies this season. The 30-year-old Lancaster native is hitting .360 in 34 games this season. He has been one of the Phillies best hitters of late, going 8-19 in his last seven games with 4 RBI and 5 runs scored. Jankwoski’s speed has also been a major factor on the bases, resulting in four steals and numerous bunt-hits. He has provided an offensive spark and, for the moment, stabilized center field.
Neris seems to have found something after bottoming out on the Fourth of July. Since that appearance, Neris has thrown a total of six innings and has allowed two runs combined. Most importantly, he has no walks to five strikeouts in that span. Neris has been able to regain control of his pitches and rebound a bit from the nadir of his season, notching his first save since June 25th on Sunday. It was a perfect inning that included two strikeouts that required 14 pitches, 11 of which were strikes.
The Phillies, despite playing lackluster baseball through much of the first half, find themselves just 3 games back with the trade deadline under two weeks away. The Mets appear to be extremely vulnerable, with Jacob Degrom being placed on the injured list and New York as a whole not playing great baseball. The Braves are struggling with the loss of Ronald Acuna Jr.. The Nationals, though hot as of late, are closer to last place than first and could potentially be sellers. However, there’s one thing standing in the Phillies way.
The Phillies Vaccination rate
The Phillies are intentionally putting themselves at a disadvantage by being one of the few teams not to have reached the 85% vaccination threshold. They have been missing their starting third baseman for six games and counting. They are being forced to do a bullpen game ahead of Matt Moore and Vince Velasquez starts because they are running out of pitchers who are not on the COVID related IL. Bailey Falter could’ve been in line to take Zach Eflin’s spot in the rotation after Eflin was placed on the IL, but Falter was placed on the COVID IL for the second time in a month. Aaron Nola missed a crucial start in a postseason race due to not being vaccinated. The team has acknowledged that this could be a problem, but is taking no steps to prevent it.
On the field, Nola has continued to struggle. He surrendered 4 runs on 7 hits in 5 ⅓ innings to a Yankees lineup that was missing most of its regulars. In eight starts since the beginning of June, Nola has a 6.10 ERA and has allowed 20 extra base hits in 41 ⅓ innings pitched. Nola has finished at least six innings in just 9 of his 19 starts, and has not done so since July 6th. His last quality start came on June 13th. Nola needs to be better for the Phillies to make the postseason.
Gregorious has been thoroughly outplayed by Ronald Torreyes this season, and it continues to get worse. Gregarious is just 2 for his last 22 and hitting .180 in the month of July. His season numbers are down to .214 with a .659 OPS. Gregarious made another costly error as well on Tuesday in New York that turned an inning ending double play into two runs. Over half way through the first year of a two year contract, it feels the Phillies may have made a mistake bringing Gregorious back.
Enyel De Los Santos
De Los Santos has bounced back and forth from the Majors due to the aforementioned COVID problems, and has been nothing short of a disaster. Once pumping 97 MPH and looking interesting, De Los Santos has once again proven to not be a quality major league option. He has allowed 9 earned runs on 18 hits in 11 ⅔ innings in the majors this season, coming in with a 6.94 ERA.
Kintzler has become the new David Hale, aka the ineffective veteran reliever that has no reason to be on a major league roster. The 36-year-old has a 7.66 ERA in 25 appearances this season. He has allowed 38 hits, 15 of which were for extra bases including 7 home runs, in just 24 ⅔ innings pitched.