Who were the biggest winners and losers on the Phillies in May?
It’s officially a new month of baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies have to be among the happiest teams to be able to put May behind them.
After all, the Phillies came into May with a .500 record and left it as a third-place laughingstock with a 21-29 record and 12 1/2-game deficit. They capped off the month by losing five in a row, including a weekend sweep by the New York Mets.
Yes, on the whole, the Phillies were big-time losers last month, baseball being a team sport and whatnot. Aside from a few prestigious individual awards, the collective results are the only thing that matters in this game, and after nearly two months of playing time, the Phillies are looking like also-rans once again; after going 11-11 in April, they went 10-18 in May.
That’s right, fewer wins in a month with more games than the last.
They also only hit one more double, walked less, and struck out 66 more times. What a difference six games makes.
But before June ball officially gets underway, we have to declare the biggest winners and losers from the month of May:
Winner: Bryce Harper
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Bryce Harper lived up to his reigning MVP title in May and did so with a small tear in his UCL. He might not be able to play the outfield until after the All-Star break – and no way around it, that’s a huge loss for this defensively-challenged team – but he’s making up for it at the plate.
Harper played 22 games in April and got off to a slow start, hitting .253/.319/.470 with a .789 OPS, which sounds even worse when you remember that as the 2021 NL MVP, he led all of Major League Baseball with a .615 slugging percentage and 1.044 OPS. All in all, not a great April for Harper.
Then the calendar flipped to May and Harper flipped the switch. He raised his batting average by almost a hundred points, hitting .352/.388/.692 with a 1.080 OPS over 22 games. Despite missing time after getting a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, he still managed to more than double his April home-run count, collect 11 more hits, go 3-0 in stolen bases, and strike out less.
Hopefully, Harper keeps it up. He might not be focused on individual accolades, but it looks like that’s all he’s going to get.
Loser: Joe Girardi
After how May turned out, Joe Girardi getting fired feels less like a debate and more of an inevitability.
While fans definitely want him gone and he certainly doesn’t feel like the right fit for the team, it’s important to remember that many of the Phillies’ problems existed before he got here, and will likely persist after he’s gone. After all, firing Gabe Kapler, Pete Mackanin, and Ryne Sandberg didn’t magically fix this team, either.
Just don’t replace Girardi with Lenny Dykstra.