After dropping the first two games of the series in embarrassing fashion against the rival Braves, the fightin’ Phils came out SWINGING in the series finale. Bryce Harper, J.T Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, and Adam Haseley all sent souvenirs into the outfield seats in yesterday’s outing- including a bases-clearing grand slam for the 2019 All-Star catcher Realmuto. The offensive explosion backed a terrific start by Aaron Nola and proved to be the difference in a 9-4 victory over the Braves.
Though impressive and incredibly timely considering their current divisional rankings, the offensive barrage was still a bit of an anomaly for Philly. As of this writing, the Phillies rank near the bottom of the league in home runs batted with just 131 on the season- good for 24th in the MLB.
While home runs aren’t the sole indicator of team success and shouldn’t be the only metric used to assess a team, the Phils season total thus far is kind of pathetic. Not only do they boast a star-studded lineup headlined by sluggers Harper, Hoskins, Realmuto, Franco, and Jay Bruce, but they’re hosts to one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the senior circuit in Citizens Bank Park. Again, all their shortcomings can’t be attributed to a lack of homers, but it is certainly a major component.
Don’t believe the long-ball has much of an effect on wins and losses? Check out the top ten teams in home runs batted thus far in 2019:
Notice anything in particular about this list? How about that everyone on this list is either leading their division or their respective league Wild Card race- with the exception of the Seattle Mariners. In fact, only the Nationals and Rays are projected to make the playoffs despite ranking outside the top ten in home runs. Of course, the Nationals and Rays also boast two of the most fearsome starting rotations in all of baseball, so that explains how they’re able to remain competitive in the year of the long ball.
The fightin’ Phillies, however, boast one of the worst pitching staffs in the league- sporting a team ERA of 4.65. Fortunately for them, they have managed to stay well within the Wild Card race despite their pitching flaws, and could even see an uptick in home runs (and consequently wins) given their favorable upcoming schedule.
To round out their current homestand, the Phils will host the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates consecutively- both teams ranking in the top 13 in home runs allowed this season. After launching four shots into the seats yesterday, the Phillies are at least primed to do more damage over their next six games against the Giants and Pirates. Hopefully, said damage that leads to a few more wins as they try to stay relevant in the playoff picture.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports