The Philadelphia Phillies are 6-6 after their first 12 games — six games at home and away each.
The home games included a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves and winning a pair of games against the New York Mets. Away from Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies fell in two of three to Atlanta, before being swept themselves in a three-game set opposite the Mets. Luckily for the Phillies, they did not have to face perennial Cy Young Award candidate Jacob deGrom on Thursday, thanks to a rain-out.
While 12 games is still a small sample size, here are five takeaways from the start of the season.
1. The Phillies bullpen is actually fine
The Phillies have three relievers with an ERA+ above 100. They all have ERA+’s well above 100, as well as someone in Connor Brogdon who still has not given up a run.
This trio is closer Hector Neris, top lefty Jose Alvarado, and Sam Coonrod — who has really surprised with how he has looked. The Phillies should be very excited about this — especially with Coonrod, since we already expected Neris and Alvarado to be good.
Outside of these top four, there could be some things to worry about. Long relievers Vince Velasquez nor David Hale have a reputation for being good arms out of the bullpen, and JoJo Romero is still very young.
Brandon Kintzler has some evidence of success — especially the last two years, where he combined to have a 173 ERA+ and a 3.99 FIP in 81 1/3 innings pitched. So, it wouldn’t be shocking if he picked things back up from a rough 2021 start.
With all of this said, this is a much better bullpen than 2020 — which is a great sign to helping the Phillies in 2021.