5 Reasons the Phillies Can Find Success in the World Series

Phillies Trea Turner
Philadelphia Phillies’ Trea Turner celebrates scoring a run off a double by Kyle Schwarber during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Friday, April 7, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

There is no try, only do, and the Philadelphia Phillies do need a miracle to return to the 2023 World Series.

Despite eclipsing their win total from 2022, Philadelphia finds themselves in a familiar position – playing second fiddle to the Atlanta Braves and firmly supplanted in the opening weekend of the 2023 MLB playoffs.

With a two-seed improvement from last year and a playoff series at home, the Phillies need to get past the frisky Miami Marlins if they plan on meeting the Braves again.

So, be mindful of your feelings. While we may be in for some of the most frustrating Phillies baseball to date, here are five reasons the light side can still prevail.

Five Reasons the Philadelphia Phillies Will Return to the World Series in 2023
Johan Rojas is the newest hope

Since joining the big league club, Johan Rojas has been a magician. Rojas hit almost .300 with 14 stolen bases and 13 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) through 57 games. Just what the doctor ordered.

Indeed, the emergence of Rojas has solidified a Phillies defensive outfield that rivals none. With Rojas in centerfield and Brandon Marsh shifting over to left field, the pair are responsible for a combined +16 DRS.

Compared to Kyle Schwarber‘s brutalizing -20 DRS, that’s a marked defensive improvement ahead of the Wildcard Round.

While Nick Castellanos (-9 DRS) might be the weak link within the group, it seems the outfield has fallen into place defensively, and while that’s not horribly sexy, it makes the list. Of course, Bryce Harper deserves an honorable mention for learning to play first base on the fly.

The Phillies are better smugglers than Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon

The Phillies stole 140 bases this season, their most since 2007. That’s run creation, and it’s shown.

The addition of Trea Turner and the emergence of Bryson Stott have electrified the offense, and their 787 runs this season would be their most since 2009.

This is not to say the Phillies didn’t run the bases well last season, but a +35 improvement in stolen bases has made a big difference for this offensive unit.

Snagging the fourth seed in the National League isn’t a fluke. As of today, the Phillies’ run differential has improved by +11 versus a year ago. While it’s easy to point to their power surge, the Phillies are doing something on the base paths that we haven’t seen in over a decade.

It is worth noting that the Marlins boast a -54 run differential. That sort of discrepancy is tough to overcome in October.

Kyle Schwarber – the Grey Jedi

Speaking of 2009, the Phillies need six home runs to match their most home runs in a single season in franchise history. However unlikely with just one regular-season game remaining, if anyone can make a dent, it’s Kyle Schwarber.

While you’d like this squad to be a little lower on the Phillies’ all-time single-season strikeout list (they’ll finish second most in Phillies history), their generated power has been unprecedented.

It’s been well documented, but the big man has had a strange year. Tied for the most home runs of his career wouldn’t be enough. He’ll also have the most RBIs, runs, walks, and strikeouts with a career low batting average of .197.

His 0.6 WAR essentially designates him as a replacement-level player, but it’s hard to argue with 46 blasts. Power is power is power, and it’s nice knowing that Schwarber is always capable of producing an immediate 1-0 lead.

The Phillies beat the Braves in the playoffs last year

It’s not helpful looking ahead, but let’s be honest, everyone in Atlanta wants a shot at the Phillies after they were unceremoniously bounced from the NLDS last year.

The Braves won the regular season, split eight games to five, and it wasn’t pretty. The Phillies have attempted to match Atlanta’s 24 homers with 19 of their own, but it hasn’t been enough. Matt Olson uses Dark Magick.

If you’re going to beat the Braves, you need to out-pitch them, and Zack Wheeler‘s 3.32 ERA through 19.0 innings against Atlanta has been one of the few positives for Philly.

Even Aaron Nola, who’s fought through one of his worst seasons as a professional, has held his own against the Evil Empire in Cobb County. With 10.9 SO/9 and 6.0 solid innings of two-run ball recently, the combo of Nola and Wheeler should give Phillies fans hope if and when these teams clash.

I’ll expand in a moment, but the Phillies can return and win the World Series because this team has been there before. They did this last year – they weren’t supposed to make it out of St. Louis. However, the question remains: just how angry are the Atlanta Braves?

Every Empire that strikes back needs a Jedi to return

The Phillies, with arguably a less impressive roster and a Wildcard series on the road, made it to the World Series in 2022. With leaders like Harper, Schwarber, Nola, and Wheeler, they shouldn’t be intimidated.

They’re setting out on another round of the hero’s journey and proved last season that they can do this against all odds. At the risk of sounding flowery, the Phillies are better positioned to make a run this year.

The consistency of players like Alec Bohm and Castellanos, something missing last season, cannot be understated. Even with a muted offensive performance from J.T. Realmuto, he still doesn’t let anyone steal.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper celebrates after winning a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates to clinch a wild-card playoff spot, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Phillies have a bullpen, which I haven’t even mentioned, with some terrifying pieces in Craig Kimbrel, José Alvarado, and, dare I say, Jeff Hoffman.

I didn’t want to end this article with a list of names, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the contributors to this ’23 iteration of the club (and I’m only so creative after 700 words).

That’s why I believe the Phillies can win the World Series. They’ve gone 41-31 since the All-Star break. They have a .605 winning percentage at home, and they’ve won 6 of their last 10, which would be more impressive had they not clinched.

They’re playing their best baseball today, which is better than the alternative.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)