The Phillies earned their third straight win and fifth in six games with a 4-0 victory on Wednesday afternoon in Detroit. That gave the team a sweep of a two-game series at Comerica Park.
After struggling both into and immediately out of the MLB All-Star break, the Phils are right in the mix for the second NL Wild Card spot and are only 5.5 games out of first place in the NL East Division.
Here are three numbers that help break down the Phillies performance this past week and that help explain how the club has been playing since the second half opened.
1: EARNED RUN ALLOWED BY THE PITCHERS
The Phillies starting staff has been somewhat of a disaster in 2019, and the bullpen hasn’t fared any better. This has continued into the second half, with the staff’s combined ERA of 5.24 ranking just 13th in the National League.
Against the Tigers, one of the worst offensive attacks in baseball, Phillies pitchers dominated across 24 innings. A good outing from ace Aaron Nola was expected, but dominant performances from Nick Pivetta (in relief) and Vince Velasquez (starting Wednesday afternoon) were encouraging after the team had not gotten much from either lately.
The bullpen was also outstanding against the Tigers. Pivetta, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan, Juan Nicasio, Jose Alvarez and Ranger Suarez combined to toss 11.1 shutout innings, allowing just four hits while striking out 14 batters.
While some upgrades to the pitching staff will hopefully be addressed at the trade deadline, it is imperative that the pitchers who are already here continue to step up for the Phillies down the stretch. Even with the offense struggling, this pitching was able to carry the team to a short series sweep.
4: HITS FOR RHYS HOSKINS
Hoskins, who has arguably been the Phillies most dangerous and productive hitter all season, struggled out of the gate after the All-Star break. His four extra-base hits and .212 batting average in 10 games were part of an overall struggle from the Phillies offense, who had trouble scoring runs on a consistent basis.
While the offense struggled in the Detroit series , Hoskins was able to produce. His go-ahead single in the 15th inning of Tuesday’s game was his second such hit in two days (Sunday’s was a go-ahead home run.) Hoskins’ inconsistency still leaves room for improvement, but his ability to drive in runs in clutch situations has been vital all season long for this offense.
3.58: PHILLIES RUNS PER GAME SINCE THE ALL-STAR BREAK
Despite a 7-5 record since returning following the MLB All-Star break, the Phillies lineup has generally faltered. This is a trend that has remained all season long. Inconsistency has plagued a roster that was seemingly built to score a lot of runs. The struggles of a couple different players has stood out during the offense’s recent difficulties in scoring.
Scott Kingery‘s regression was inevitable at the pace he was hitting to open the year. However, he continues to struggle and every time it seems he has righted the ship, he has another bad stretch. In 11 second-half games, Kingery has a .222/.340/.422 slash line and has struck out 16 times over 45 at-bats. The one encouraging factor has been Kingery’s ability to get on base as evidenced by has walking eight times during the stretch.
While he has exceeded any and every expectation defensively, J.T. Realmuto‘s offensive contributions have been underwhelming so far in 2019. This has continued into the second half with a .570 OPS and only two extra-base hits in 10 games. The Phillies simply must have Realmuto step up and become the five-hole hitter they acquired him to be, providing RBI support in the batting order behind Hoskins and Bryce Harper.
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