After an explosive start to the season, the previously 2-0 Phillies looked to complete a sweep of the Oakland A’s on Sunday. Unfortunately, that mission came up short, as they fell to a 4-1 defeat.
Offense needs time to heat up
The third game of the series was relatively quiet for both sides. The opening quartet of hitters remained quiet and after two fun-filled outings where the rest of the lineup came up big, the fires started to drop in temperature.
The Phillies had only two hits through the opening seven innings, which is more telling than it is concerning. The Phils burst out of the gate in the season-opener, with everyone except Matt Vierling and Nick Castellanos registering a hit. However, hitters 1-4 have only registered a combined one hit through the next two games, and that was thanks to Castellanos.
I highly doubt this is going to be a long-term concern. The Phillies haven’t exactly been the most consistent team in the world in recent years and even Bryce Harper himself had a few slumpy periods last year before his MV3 campaign. No reasons to be worried here, although seeing Rhys Hoskins amass 4 hits and 3 runs through the opening series should be quite the opposite, installing a sense of confidence that the 29-year-old can continue to build on what was a resurgent 2021 campaign.
The good news is that the Phils had a chance to win the game right down to the closing inning thanks to another big day from the starting pitchers. Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson both did their part over the weekend, and Zach Eflin followed suit. He allowed 2 runs through 4 innings, striking out three batters in the process.
If the starting pitching can be this good all season long, then the days of games being over by the 4th inning may finally be behind us. While the bullpen itself is still light on competitive depth, the starting pitching appears to have finally buttoned up at the seams. It’s early days and Oakland are hardly the premier offense in the league, but there’s at least a sense of encouragement that the Phils are turning the corner.
A new dynamic
Something that will definitely draw eyes this season is the rotation at 3B. The Phillies have decided to go with a committee approach this season, with each bringing something different to the lineup. Bryson Stott brings the bang, Alech Bohm brings a sense of comfort, and Camargo’s fielding prowess will help the Phils in certain matchups throughout the season.
A lot of people were excited to see Bryson Stott this weekend. 2 hits and the first run of his career is certainly one way to make an impact. The beauty of this approach is that Stott won’t be forced to contribute heavily right away and will be allowed to go through the rigors and growing pains of the MLB at a healthy rate, knowing that there are pieces in place to pick him right back up if he does ever falter…although the early signs exude nothing but confidence.
The Phillies are set to play the New York Mets tomorrow at 6.45 EST.
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Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire