3 overreactions from the first two weeks of the Phillies' season

It's easy to overreact to the first two weeks of the Phillies' six-month-long season.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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The Phillies still have no chance of winning the NL East

The Atlanta Braves suffered a devastating injury, with ace Spencer Strider declared out for the remainder of the season after undergoing UCL internal brace surgery on his right throwing arm. Their pitching staff suffered a serious setback on paper, and his absence from the starting rotation will be felt for the rest of the year.

Will the Braves regress due to Strider's absence? Can the rest of the starting rotation remain healthy and productive? There are still plenty of talented pitchers, including Chris Sale, Max Fried, Charlie Morton, and Reynaldo López.

The club also has youngsters in the minors, including Bryce Elder and AJ Smith-Shawver, whom the team may turn to if López is moved to the bullpen. Will Atlanta make a trade for a starting pitcher by the trading deadline? If they do, that could make their rotation better in Strider's absence.

Philadelphia has lacked consistency during April and May over the last two seasons. Their average to below-average play to begin 2022 and 2023 has put them at a disadvantage in competing for the division. The Phillies are capable of winning the NL East, but will they win in 2024?

Winning the division is only part of a team's achievement if they win the World Series. More importantly, as a Wild Card team, Philadelphia has defeated Atlanta in the NLDS the previous two years. Wild Card teams have won the World Series plenty of times — the Phillies came within two wins of doing so versus the Houston Astros in 2022, entering the postseason as the sixth seed in the National League.

The Braves also possess one of the best-hitting combinations in the majors at the one through five spots in their batting order. A lineup consisting of Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Matt Olson, and Marcell Ozuna is as good as it gets.

Atlanta should be in good standing this season, despite the loss of Strider. The bullpen features one of the better closers in the game, Raisel Iglesias, and solid relievers in A.J. Minter, Joe Jiménez, Tyler Matzek, and López if he returns to the bullpen. The lineup is one of the best in baseball, so until proven otherwise, the Braves will still be the favorites to win the NL East and not the Phillies.