At 33-33, it’s been a bumpy season for the Phillies. There have been some stunning breakouts like that of Zack Wheeler to lift spirits, while some injury knocks and unexpected slumps have held the team back. All in all, there are still reasons for fans to feel positive ahead of a three-game series with the Giants.
It’s not looking good…
The Giants most recently swept the flailing Diamondbacks and now sit first in the NL West division. This doesn’t exactly bode well for a team who have been limping in recent weeks, relying on some rallying momentum from the likes of Wheeler and the fairytale story of Luke Williams. Only adding to this is the fact that the Giants have been heating up.
The Phillies last met the Giants at the end of April, dropping two games before Andrew Knapp helped the Phillies end the series on a high note. A lot has changed since then. They will be without Didi Gregorious and the Best Catcher In Baseball, J.T Realmuto. Jean Segura is the latest addition to the injury list, but help is on the way.
Bryce is back
Bryce Harper missed Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers, but is expected to return tonight after recovering from some lower-back tightness. It’s been a season of setbacks for the former All-star, who also missed some extended time after suffering a forearm contusion. On the season, he’s hitting .274 with 8 home runs having batted in 18 runs. A three-hit game on Sunday against the Yankees reminded fans of just how dangerous Harper can be and they’ll need him to be at his best if the team are to topple a San Francisco team allowing just 3.62 runs per game, the 4th lowest in the entire league.
Rhys Hoskins also looked like he finally broke out of what felt like a never-ending skid in exciting fashion. The Phillies were bested by the Dodgers for most of the series, but his homer against Clayton Kershaw helped lift the team to a huge win over L.A. Hoskins was on an 0-33 run at the plate and according to Matt Rappa of That Ball’s Outta Here, just 3 more hit less at-bats would’ve surpassed Ryan Howard’s franchise record of 35 hit less at-bats in a row.
The young first baseman might have snapped out of his ice-cold stretch at the perfect time. When he’s hot, he’s red hot. Hoskins has more home runs this year than he did in a shortened 2020 campaign can kick-start a strong Summer if he can build on that huge homer.
If you were betting on Hoskins to rekindle that fire, this would be the perfect time to do it. 85 percent of all Pennsylvania betting handle was online meaning that it’s easier than ever to back such a resurgence. PA finished 2020 with $3.5 billion in sports bets placed, establishing themseleves as a market leader.
Light on depth, heavy on energy
Sure, the Phillies may be without several of their big names, but with re-enforcements on the way and some hype around the youth, the team may just have a shot. Patience has been preached for top prospect Spencer Howard, who is currently 0-2 and carries a 5.02 ERA. Howard could pitch deeper into a game against the Giants and with them ranking second in home runs in the league, it could be a real chance to build some potential confidence.
With a fairytale story snatching the headlines last week and Bryce Harper returning to a batting order that may finally see a surge now that its resident bomb-hitter could be flying back to form, the Phillies may at least have a fighting chance this weekend.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire