A sweep at the hands of the LA Dodgers had left Phillies fans questioning their squad. The Phillies have won two series and have the opportunity to win their third consecutive series on Wednesday. So why are fans flocking to overreaction central?
Well, the Braves are surging, having won five in a Row. They have closed the gap and are now tied with the Phillies for the lead in the NL East. The Phillies will look to cool off the Braves as they travel to Atlanta for a crucial weekend series. But it’s important to focus on the immediate task at hand. Here are some quick-hitting thoughts to digest beforehand..
The acquisition of Jay Bruce from the Mariners looks like an absolute steal for Matt Klentak. Bruce seemed to be acquired to provide a veteran bat off the bench. The injury to Andrew McCutchen has given Bruce an opportunity to play every day and he hasn’t disappointed. Since coming over, Bruce is batting .357 with 5 home runs and 13 home runs. He has only been held hitless once in his 8 games with the Phillies.
Bruce has played solid defense as well, making multiple highlight-reel catches in his short time in a Phillies uniform. There were questions about his defense. Bruce has so far put that to rest.
Scott Kingery the all-star?
In short, yes. Kingery is playing at an all-star level. He isn’t likely to be a starter, but he is continuing to show why the Phillies jumped on signing him to a deal last year. Kingery has been the best hitter in the lineup. He is batting .324 with 7 homers and 18 RBI, and has 3 homers in his last two games.
The contrast between Kingery in his rookie season is amazing. The former second-round pick has more extra base hits than he does singles. Kingery has settled into the role of centerfielder and should continue to improve in that position. So the question now has to be asked, ‘should Kingery be the Phillies leadoff hitter?’
Top of the Rotation
Aaron Nola has been average at best. In two starts this month, he’s given up 9 runs combined, including runs late in the game when the Phillies had the lead. Nola needs to turn this around and fast. He hasn’t had an ERA under 4 since his first start against the Braves. What better way to turn it around than against the Braves? The Phillies can’t make the postseason without Nola.
Jake Arrieta has been below average and has two wins in his last 8 starts. He shows no signs of being able to turn it around. His start against the Cubs was amazing, but since then hasn’t been that good, giving up too many walks, which hurt him in the long run. Hopefully, the Arrieta that pitched against the Cubs shows up in the future.
The Phillies have work to do. The series with the Braves will be telling. Taking the series can be big to cooling off the surging Braves. Either way, it’s going to be a fun series.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports