How the Phillies are winning games might surprise you
Phillies fans carried few expectations into the Gabe Kapler era, but they were the favorites of national pundits to make a wild card run this summer. To the surprise of both parties the Phillies are one game back in the National League East, granted it’s just 20 games into the season.
Somehow this team continues to win, especially at home with a record of 9-1 and some of their young players performing their best at The Bank.
It’s been a combination of things that have kept the Phillies in the conversation early in the season, for both good and bad. A rookie manager acknowledging he might have gone overboard with his approach and taking a step back was much appreciated by the fans, who rightfully booed him during the opening series.
One of the more puzzling parts about this team is their general inability to hit for average, as they currently sit with the 10th-worst average in the league at .231. Despite that and the fact this team, even with Pat Neshek, Jake Arrieta, and Tommy Hunter, is the youngest team in baseball, the Phillies have average 5.15 runs per game, eighth in baseball and third in the National League behind Chicago and Atlanta.
How are they putting up so many runs while not hitting the ball on a consistent basis? Their power numbers aren’t spectacular with just 19 home runs, tied for the fifth-fewest in baseball. They’re below the league-average in team batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases. Batters are striking out more than ever on this team, sitting fourth in the National League with 199.
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How’s it that this team is scoring so many runs while failing to produce statistically? As Kapler said this offseason, it’s all about “embracing value at the margins.” What does that mean? Maybe it has something to do with his team having 93 walks, the second-most in baseball behind Washington. Is it their ability to play small ball and drive in runs, leaving only 136 men on base, the sixth-fewest in all the Majors.
Even with the questionable numbers that have led to run production, the Phillies have the third-most errors in baseball with players constantly moving across the diamond.
Pitching has been fantastic, allowing fifth-fewest runs in baseball averaging three runs a game. It still doesn’t explain how this team is putting together so many runs and wins.
Somehow Kapler is getting this team to win after a miserable start, and the team continues to be bold early in the season.