3 under the radar Phillies off to hot starts in 2023
By Tim Boyle
The start to the season has been slow for the Philadelphia Phillies. Where have we seen this before?
A different yet very similar roster as they had for most of 2022, they’ve had to overcome some major injuries just to remain out of baseball’s basement. Through 12 games, at 4-8, we’ve seen plenty of the core members struggle. To our pleasant surprise, some under the radar Phillies have started off hot.
This can be taken a number of ways. You want your stars to perform. You also need unlikely heroes to step up. Through the first dozen games, these lesser-talked about Phillies have earned every dime on their paychecks. Who would have thought they’d be leading the rotation and the starting lineup?
1) Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm has been the most pleasant surprise of all
The Phillies didn’t sign Matt Strahm to start for them. An injury to Ranger Suarez and a lack of reasonably good options to take his spot on the roster has changed his role for the team to start the season. Through a pair of starts and a relief appearance, Strahm has been the club’s surprising ace.
Now 10 innings into the season, Strahm is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He has allowed 5 hits, struck out a batter per inning, and has walked opponents at a rate of only 1.8 per 9.
Everything Strahm has delivered in every way possible for the Phillies this season. In a year where the bullpen has been a mess and they haven’t gotten much from their pair of aces, it has been a stroke of good luck to get anything at all out of Strahm as a starter.
Originally intended to be the third lefty in the bullpen behind Gregory Soto and Jose Alvarado, Strahm has been easily their best pitcher to begin the year. Unfortunately, there probably won’t be much room for him to stick in the rotation when Suarez does return. That’s because this next guy is the only one they can option to the minors and he has been impressive for them, too.