Phillies must correct these 3 major issues going into June

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Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Dylan Covey delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, May 28, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The 2023 Major League Baseball season is roughly a third of the way through its 162-game regular season. The Philadelphia Phillies are 25-31, sitting fourth in the National League East.

If it feels familiar, Philadelphia was in a similar position in May 2022. Back then, the Phillies were 22-29 and fired then-manager Joe Girardi on June 2, 2022.  Then interim manager Rob Thomson took the helm and they won their next game over the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-0.

Now, with the season nearly one-third complete, they are on a 76-win pace. There’s been rough statistics all over the board for Philadelphia.

Their starting pitchers rank 24th across the league with a 4.59 ERA. This is below all their fellow NL East teams like the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, and New York Mets. They are averaging 4.107 runs per game, also well below their divisional rivals and 23rd in the league prior to Thursday’s game.

It’s not to say all the issues will disappear or correct themselves quickly.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson
Philadelphia Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson celebrates after the Phillies won a baseball game against the Houston Astros to clinch a wild-card playoff spot, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Will Kyle Schwarber finally fix the left-field issues?

Teams are taking extra bases regularly against Schwarber and there’s no solution to the problem of left-field defense until Bryce Harper is ready to play first base after the All-Star break, allowing Schwarber to be the designated hitter.

Can problems at first base be rectified?

Infielder Alec Bohm is on the 10-day injured list after an MRI on an ailing hamstring. Following first baseman Rhys Hoskins’ season-ending ACL tear in spring training and later Darick Hall’s thumb surgery in April, Bohm has taken the lion’s share of playing time at first base for the injury-riddled Phillies.

The Phils will likely turn to utilityman Kody Clemens at first base. Clemens, 27, came over from the Tigers in the Gregory Soto trade this offseason and has batted .268/.333/.479 with four homers in 78 plate appearances.

Phillies Kyle Schwarber
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 18: Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber (12) during the MLB game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves on September 18, 2022, at Truist Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire)

Rotating the rotation

Starting rotation still continues to be an issue, specifically in the number five spot. The Phillies have taxed their bullpen because of how short the starts have been. Teams can get away with poor performances at the very back of the rotation if the middle is performing

Ranger Suárez and Taijuan Walker have a combined 6.39 ERA in 16 starts.

They split their four games series with the Braves at the end of May and recently, were swept by the Mets. Philadelphia faces a three-game series in Washington before returning home.

Never say never

A potential silver lining is that the Phillies have played only 10 of their 52 NL East games. While it’s not early season anymore, there are still plenty of head-to-head chances to allow them to rise in the division.

The Phillies’ push late last season shows there’s no need to worry if a team doesn’t hit its stride in the first two months in order to make a deep playoff run. But it’s a new year, a new team, and seemingly, new inconsistencies.

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson