Phillies: What the first month has taught us about the 2019 club
Through the first 28 games, the Phillies sit at 16-12 atop the NL East. As we shift gears to the second month of the season, we look at the good and bad that sticks out so far, and how they relate to the team’s success or failure.
A single word to describe the first month of the Phillies season: unanticipated. Whether the topic is pitching or hitting, individual play or as a whole, the results so far have been unanticipated.
Fielding hasn’t differed all that much from what I expected, so I will not get into that. Pitching was such a strong aspect of last year behind Aaron Nola‘s Cy Young-like year, and now the Phillies are relying heavily on the grizzled 10-year veteran Jake Arrieta and masterful starts from Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin.
Also, a lot of pop was to be expected from this team, but one of the guys supplying the most production is Maikel Franco, who is having a breakout season. Yet, the increase in team output has been followed by an increase in missed opportunities. Strikeouts have been a major thorn in the side of the offense, and have stunted their growth towards becoming a powerhouse.
I mentioned after the Atlanta series that dominating the NL East has been a precursor to success in recent history. The Phillies are 13-8 against NL East opponents, having taken three of the four-game series at home against the Marlins. As they prepare to embark into the meat of the season, I took a look at the two facets of their game that have been affected the most: pitching and hitting.