Phillies are Scratching the surface of immense potential in spite of growing pains

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Two nights ago, the Phillies stranded 19 runners- leaving the bases loaded three times- in an extra-inning walk-off loss to the Colorado Rockies. Though the box score reads that they were defeated by the hand of a walk-off bomb from Charlie Blackmon, the Phillies can’t help but feel as if they defeated themselves.

“We certainly have the ability to swing the bats with runners in scoring position,” said Gabe Kapler postgame. “We didn’t do that tonight.” Superstar slugger Bryce Harper shared that sentiment in his postgame interview, stating “We can be better, myself included. We got guys on base. We’ve got to get those guys in. If we could have gotten a couple of those runs across, it might have been a different story.”

The painful defeat, though frustrating, is just the latest in a long line of growing pains that have and are yet to come for the new-look Phils. Sure, a heavy dose of frustration is warranted when a team repeatedly squanders opportunities to score- especially in an eventual loss. Alternatively, though, a great deal of optimism should be present through the growing pains as well. While stranding 19 runners is far from ideal, the mere fact the Phils put 19 men on off 17 hits is incredibly impressive. Even more impressive, however, is that they managed to do so during a time their lineup was going through a bit of a cold spell.

Entering that matchup in Colorado, Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper, J.T Realmuto, and Maikel Franco were all batting below .270- with only Franco ranking in the top 20 in home runs this season. Then, the quartet exploded for 11 hits to go along with a pair of timely RBIs. While the heart of the lineup hasn’t generated the type of power output expected of them, it’s encouraging to see them at least begin to get hot at the same time.

As I stated earlier, there have and will be growing pains. Oft-dominant ace Aaron Nola hasn’t been himself to start the season, currently sporting a dreadful 7.45 ERA as he struggles to go beyond six innings per outing. Late-inning relief specialists Seranthony Dominguez and David Robertson are both off to poor starts, owning ERAs over 5.00. To make matters worse, former all-stars Jean Segura, Odubel Herrera, and Andrew McCutchen have all been knocked out of the lineup with injury.

Still, the Phillies lead the National League East. Despite Hoskins and Harper having less than 10 combined home runs so far this season. Despite their Cy Young-worthy ace getting shelled every other outing. Despite losing in flat-out embarrassing form sometimes- the Phillies are atop the NL East.

It won’t always be pretty, but the sky is not falling in Philadelphia and the Phils are still exactly who we expected them to be. A dominant roster

with their sights set on a postseason run. Losses are always frustrating, but they are apart of the game and the Phillies likely won’t accumulate enough to matter in the grand scheme of things. Undeterred by a few early-season shortcomings, it’s on to the next for the Phillies as they continue their quest to pace the NL East en route to greater achievements in October. Keep calm, Philly faithfuls, once they stop shooting themselves in the foot, it’s going to be awfully hard to slow the Phillies.

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