It was only nine days ago when the Phillies were a season-low 12 games under .500, and held the worst record in MLB. Since then, they have enjoyed a successful stretch of seven wins in their last eight games, which included a six game winning streak; the club’s longest since September 2012.
With last night’s win, the Phillies improved their record to 18-24, and are currently 6.5 games back in the NL East.
So, what are the reasons for the Phillies’ recent success?
1. Ryan Howard heating up: Since May 2, Howard has raised his batting average .80 points to give him a current batting average of .257. His OBP has increased .73 points, and his slugging percentage has increased .127 points. In his last seven games, Howard has been one of the hottest first baseman in MLB with a .444 batting average, a .444 OBP, and a .778 slugging percentage. On the season, he has eight home runs, which ranks third among NL first basemen, and 20 RBIs.
2. Starting pitching doing the job: Over their last seven games, the Phillies’ starters have gone 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 43.1 innings-pitched. Aaron Harang and Cole Hamels have been especially good, as both have combined for a 2-0 record, and a 0.43 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched. The other starters have combined for a 3-0 record and a 2.05 ERA.
3. Maikel Franco providing energy: The Phillies were in desperate need for an infusion of energy, and the 22-year-old Franco has provided that since being promoted to the big-league roster. In 24 at-bats, Franco has recorded a .292 average with a .356 OBP, one home run, and five RBIs. Defensively, he has shown quick reflexes and a strong arm at the hot corner.
4. Offense doing the job, too: Since May 14, the Phillies offense has been hitting the ball well, with a .300 team batting average (4th in MLB) and a .356 OBP. They have scored 38 runs over that stretch, averaging about five runs per game. Overall, the offense has 72 hits with 28 extra-base hits (1st in MLB), and have outscored their opponents 38-26 during that stretch.
For a team that had the worst record in baseball only nine days ago, this stretch of success has been a pleasant surprise. Whether or not the team will be able to maintain this success has yet to be seen. In the mean time, the Phillies and their fans can bask in the team’s recent success.